While The Hangover Part III may seem like a retread of very familiar ground, this “final” film in the Hangover trilogy completely abandons the trademark formula that typically sets Phil, Stu and Alan up to figure out what the heck happened the night before. Instead they are still recovering from the debauchery that occurred in the first film from 2009. Nevertheless, this is still a very funny movie.
It’s been four years since the original Hangover events and though Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms) seem to have recovered from their Vegas and Bangkok (The Hangover Part II- 2011) misadventures, the spoiled man-child, Alan (Zach Galifianakis), is still living with his parents spending a carefree life of blissful irresponsibility.
After Alan has an unfortunate accident with a giraffe on the freeway and then sits idly by, listening to Billy Joel’s “My Life” with his headphones on, as his father, Sid (Jeffrey Tambor), dies from a heart-attack; the responsible members of the “Wolfpack” decide it’s time for their furriest member to get some professional help.
While on a road-trip to take Alan to an Arizona rehab facility the friends are abducted by a mobster named Marshall (John Goodman) and his crew, including Black Doug (Mike Epps) from the original Hangover. With a twisted viewpoint that only makes sense to the gangster, Marshall holds the Wolfpack responsible for millions of dollars in gold that was stolen from him by their evil acquaintance, Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong); and so he kidnaps Alan’s brother, Doug (Justin Bartha), and threatens to kill him unless the goofy gang can bring Chow to him.
Chow has recently escaped from a Bangkok prison and made his way back to the United States. He’s been in casual contact with Alan via text messages and when the team determines he is in Tijuana, they head south of the border to try to apprehend the crazy androgynous Asian.
Hangover hijinks ensue as the Wolfpack swings between helping Chow and trying to hunt him down for Marshall. And before you can say, “back, Jack, do it again,” they find themselves back in Vegas where they end up running into old friends, like Jade (Heather Graham) and her baby – now a young boy – from the first film; and Alan even falls in love with a pawn shop owner played by the popular and funny Melissa McCarthy in a cameo appearance.
As mentioned, the film is missing its requisite morning-after scene and in fact I only recall one short instance where the characters are even seen imbibing in this movie. This is both a disappointing and a refreshing break from tradition and although I applaud writer/director Todd Phillips for going in a somewhat new direction, it was a little like watching an Indiana Jones movie without a lost artifact.
Galifianakis in particular is still outrageously hilarious and he carries this film even more so than he did in the first two movies in the franchise. Without him this would be like watching The 3 Stooges without Curly – amusing, but nowhere near as funny.
If you’ve never seen a Hangover film before, be prepared, as there is plenty of dark crude humor in this series and Part III is no exception, with the Chow character being the most offensive one of all – and he has a much larger role in this movie. It’s funny to be sure, but might rub some sensitive moviegoers the wrong way.
Although The Hangover Part III is dumb, rude and rehashes a lot of old material, it is still insanely funny and entertaining. And make sure you stay past the first run of credits for a fun surprise that makes the whole ride worthwhile. Grade: 7/10