The Hangover Part III (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner23/05/2013

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 102 mins

Painfully unfunny threequel that learns from the mistakes of the previous sequel and tries to do something different, but fails to provide any laughs in the process.

What's it all about?
Directed by Todd Phillips (completing the set by returning for the threequel), The Hangover Part III ditches the wedding party/hangover set-up of the previous two films and begins with Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) agreeing to drive an off-his-meds Alan (Zach Galifianakis) to a recovery facility after an intervention. However, when gang boss Marshall (John Goodman) kidnaps the gang en route to the facility, Phil, Stu and Alan are tasked with tracking down crazy gangster Mr Chow (Ken Jeong), while Marshall holds Doug hostage.

It transpires that Chow has stolen a shipment of gold bars from Marshall and hidden them in a Mexican villa, so the hapless trio reluctantly agree to help him steal them back. Along the way, they end up back in Vegas and run into a number of familiar faces (including Heather Graham as Jade), while Alan sparks what could be the beginning of a romantic connection with pawn shop owner Cassie (Melissa McCarthy).

The Bad
The filmmakers have clearly learned from the mistakes of the previous sequel, which was essentially a desperate do-over of the first film that discovered, to its cost, that the same jokes didn't work the second time around. The third (and, if there's any justice, final) instalment, then, aims for something different, dropping the majority of the gross-out comedy (nothing really bad happens to anyone this time round) and playing it relatively straight as a thriller, albeit with two ultra-weird characters (Alan and Chow) at the centre of it all.

To that end, the film's main strength lies in the bickering interaction between the characters, but even that feels forced this time around, while Alan's initial oddball appeal has definitely worn thin by this point, as has Chow's balls-out craziness. Similarly, with no central 'What the hell happened?' mystery to hang the story on, it feels like all three leads are just going through the motions, while McCarthy's contribution is welcome but badly underused.

The Worse
Rejigging the format isn't a terrible idea in principle, the problem is that they have apparently forgotten to put any jokes in it, barring an opening gross-out gag involving a decapitated giraffe that is then quickly forgotten about. Essentially, if you've seen the trailer, then you've seen all (both) the jokes.

A much bigger problem is that Ed Helms' Stu is basically the only likeable character in the entire franchise; Cooper's Phil is particularly objectionable if you actually listen to his dialogue, but the film is content to let him get away without anything resembling comeuppance.

Worth seeing?
The Hangover Part III is a pitifully laugh-free threequel that only manages to raise a smile with a late-arriving mid-credits sting. An actual hangover is more fun than this.

Film Trailer

The Hangover Part III (15)
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Content updated: 22/11/2017 14:44

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