Movie review: The Hangover III

Director Todd Phillips has certainly got his keg's worth from his Hangover franchise; the first two instalments have grossed an impressive billion plus dollars worldwide. With those kind of numbers there was an obvious inevitability regarding a third.

But with the first two based around bachelor parties, Philips must have felt that they've done the whole wedding thing to death now, which means that he had to come up with another excuse to re-unite the wolfpack one last time. His choice? A fairly bog-standard road movie.

It's been two years since Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) – otherwise known as the Wolfpack – had their eventful trip to Thailand. All of them are now living relatively normal lives by comparison and are happy enough for it to stay that way. All except one of them that is – Alan – who is currently off of his meds, making him his usual loose cannon self.

In an attempt to help him out, his friends and family rally round and prepare an intervention for him. Phil, Stu and Doug (Justin Bartha) think it would be best for Alan if he attended the cool-sounding New Horizons, a place that will hopefully bring some calm into Alan's chaotic life. Touched not only by the idea of his pals caring for him this much, but also prepared to take him there themselves, Alan agrees. And so the Wolfpack hit the road once more.

It's not long into the trip when the gang are kidnapped by some mask-wearing thugs. They are taken to see Marshall (John Goodman), who is far from being a happy bunny. He informs them that their 'friend' Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) has stolen a vast amount of gold from him, and he wants it back. Marshall intends to keep Doug as collateral and gives the trio three days to find chow and return his gold. If they don't get the gold back, they don't get Doug back – alive, at least.

So with the clock a-ticking, the Wolfpack set off one last time, to track down the cunning Chow.

With the fact that the whole party storyline was covered fairly extensively in the first two films, it's understandable that Phillips would move away from that particular theme for the last one. The problem is, the Wolfpack on a fairly generic road trip, doesn't really work.

The appeal of the first two were the extraordinary situations they found themselves in. This time around, their adventure feels a little underwhelming and safe; it's like the previous outings were magical rides in a slightly warped Disneyland, whereas this one is more akin to a dull weekend stay at Butlins.

What's also more noticeable is that much of the comedy rests on the shoulders of Galifianakis and Jeong, with Cooper and Helms taking pretty much a back seat throughout; so much so that Helm's most memorable scene is actually left for post credits. Both Galifianakis and Jeong have a pretty good stab at it, considering, but it's clearly too much of an ask for the pair to carry the entire film.

John Goodman's contribution is also nothing to shout about, as is the return of Heather Graham, whose appearance only serves as a question, that being, didn't she used to be quite famous once?

The film has its moments, but they're sadly just not as funny as previous gags, and are few and far between. And as comedic road movies go, this one is disappointingly middle-of-the-road all the way.

A hangover often brings with it the inability to remember what happened previously, and unfortunately the same can be said for this third film, as not long after it, it's utterly forgettable. So as send-offs go, this gives little cause for celebration as the Wolfpack's farewell.

3 booms

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