Co writer/director Todd Phillps’ finale changes the key ingredients of the Hangover recipe in a failed attempt to please punters and critics alike.
After a death in the family that highlights that Alan (Zach Galifianakis) has been off his meds, the wolf-pack (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha) intervene to get him back on track. On their way to a medical retreat they’re abducted by a gangster, Marshall (John Goodman), with connections to their past. Their way out; track down escaped prisoner Mr Chow (Ken Jeong), and capture him..
Phillips and co-writer Craig Mazin’s move away from the series formula feels like a direct effort to quiet the critical gripes with the repetitive quality of the first sequel and shifts the focus to Alan and Chow because they’re the ever quotable ‘fan favourites’. The first films’ brilliance is in the synergy between complimentary elements. The hierarchy of the characters; Cooper’s alpha male Phil, Bartha’s everyman Doug, Helms’ neurotic punching bag Stu and Galifianakis’ oddball Alan have great chemistry. These characters are the perfect storm of comedic interplay presented with tigers, Mike Tyson, and surprise naked gangsters. The Hangover Part III transfers the comedic relief to the foreground, Phil and Stu to the background and fundamentally changes the winning ‘Hangover’ recipePart III’s focus on plot and specifically giving more screen time to Alan and Chow results in shtick (Alan being an idiot savant and Chow being a freaky sex fiend) that’s two films old being spread over a longer running time. Things aren’t all bad; there were a few big laughs, Alan’s homage to viral video ‘best cry ever’ was fun (even if this reviewer was the only one that got it) and the Melissa McCarthy cameo was terrific.
The Hangover Part III is a victim to the demands of an audience wanting more, a studio cashing in and a filmmaker not knowing how to say no.
[rating=2] and a half
Blake Howard – follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman and listen to the audio review on That Movie Show 2UE here or on top-rating film podcast Pod Save Our Screen, available now on iTunes.