Hanging by a Thread – A review of The Hangover Part III

Zach Galifianakis stars as the narcissistic Alan in the latest installment of the Hangover series.
Zach Galifianakis stars as the narcissistic Alan in the latest installment of the Hangover series.
1 star for The Hangover Part III

Summary: The franchise has exceeded it’s “sell by” date by a couple of years. What was once an original concept has been reduced to a puddle of sappy, less than funny recycled material with unengaging characters and an even less inspired plot.

All good things must come to an end. And in this case, that should have been right after the second installment.

I’m not much of a movie comedy fan since most of what passes for comedy these days is a perfect indication of the dumbing down of Hollywood for the sake of making a quick buck. But even I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the first Hangover installment four years ago.

The second one, while not nearly as amusing as the first, at least stayed true to the format of the first movie and delivered laughs that were just as offensive, but at least funnier than the norm that one expects from comedies today.

Enter part three. This is a movie that breaks the mold set by the first two stories and manages to be both mean spirited and unfunny all in the same cinematic foible.

Gone is the opening sequence where we see a hilarious montage of bizarre off-the-wall results of drug induced partying and the compelling mystery that would follow as the wolf pack attempts to piece together the events of the night before, all while trying to find their missing companions.

Instead, we’re greeted with a completely different type of mystery. Here the pack is attempting to find Chou (Ken Jeong) who has managed to escape an Asian prison and is trying to seize the wealth of another master criminal (John Goodman) who in turn wants Chou’s head for ripping him off.

Now while the basic premise of the story sounds entertaining enough, the execution is less than compulsory. And the caper is probably one of the least compelling I’ve seen on the big screen in quite some time.

Even the acting seems totally downplayed for this chapter. The normally vibrant and bubbly Bradley Cooper is completely treading water here, seeming positively bored with both the story and his character. Likewise, Ed Helms is equally vapid as the usually high-strung Stu who at least fortunately loses no teeth in this round.

Zach Galifianakis perfectly conveys the narcissism that’s inherent in his character throughout the trilogy, but now he’s become completely offensively self serving throughout the picture. Instead of laughing at or along with him as I did in the first two pictures, I actually wondered why no one hauled him off to a looney bin bound in a straightjacket five minutes into the story.

Only Jeong seems to be having a blast with this chapter. He plays his remorseless character with a straight face and a steady trigger finger that actually ends up making him more sinister than funny. If this really is the last chapter of this tale, I say good riddance.

Unfortunately, I suspect that, even though all the literature associated with Hangover III says that the tale is over, we haven’t seen the last of the wolf pack yet. There’s a scene stuck firmly into the credits that is strongly reminiscent of the aforementioned opening montage and we know there’s a story yet to be told.

At least next time, guys, can we at least make it funny? I give Hangover Part III 1 out of 5 stars.

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