I, and most of the rest of the world called shenanigans to the sequel of the wickedly funny and most box office successful Rated R comedy of all time that was nothing more than a mere carbon copy of the original. The sequel was such a bummer because with the illustrious Part II title instead of just calling it The Hangover 2, we knew they were most definitely gonna try to make this into a trilogy, and instantly all the steam was gone and after the ‘suckquel’ the best Part III could be labeled was redemptive.
Phillips and screenwriter Craig Mazin give us untied plot holes from the first film that we never realized were there in the first place. After an incident where the 40 year plus man-child Alan (Zach Galifianakis) gets a giraffe beheaded on the 405 freeway, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and the disposable Doug (Justin Bartha) take Alan on a road trip to Arizona to be dropped off at a rehab clinic. Before they can get there, poor Doug gets kidnapped after a west coast mobster named Marshall (John Goodman) hijacks the the four and gives them the ultimatum to track down Alan’s pen pal buddy, the even more insane Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), who’s responsible for stealing $21 million from Marshall.
I may not even classify this as a comedy but that’s not to say I didn’t laugh. A scene of Stu and Mr. Chow having to act like dogs while disarming house alarms had traces of the edgy humor from so long ago, and the money shot of Phil and Alan climbing down several tied white sheets as their dangling from the very tall Caesar’s Palace is effectively tense. Directly after that, a strobe-lit penthouse suite gives us just the tip of some of that daring audacity that Phillips is capable of.
Those laughs are the few and far between bright spots in a forcefully dark tone that is all too often vacant of dark laughs. Taking the high antics and raunchiness of the original and duplicating them almost step for step, but just in a different location was incredibly unimaginative, and it seems for The Hangover Part lll, director/writer Todd Phillips must have taken the criticism to heart. Completely getting away from the ‘night after’ concept, which I applaud, Phillips inadvertently also got away from making a comedy and his would-be epic conclusion is anything but.
Cooper looks like he’s on autopilot, Helms looks tired of waving his hands in the air frantically that he’s got himself in another situation, and Galifinakis at times looks like he’s going for Oscar gold trying to blend goof and drama but falls well short.
It’s almost as though Phillips apologizes for himself with an opening that rips a classic scene from The Shawshank Redemption, as if to say I won’t rip off my early material this time, but I will rip off others. It may have been a bold choice to go away from the first two films’ routine, but it still ended up the most boring of the three. Gone is the funny, and haphazardly a 2nd rate action-chase film replaces it.
Most to blame is Todd Phillips. Phillips wastes the ‘Wolfpack’ once again. It’s almost as if the letdown of the sequel made Phillips just try to get this one over with and collect a paycheck. There are moments of forced heart that include a horribly manufactured scene where Alan blunders trying to reconnect with the sunglasses-wearing baby from the original. Worst of all, is their limp re-entrance back to Las Vegas. This moment should be epic-ally grandiose and just plain awesome, but once again, it just passes us right by onscreen.
Sadly the funniest moment is of course in the credits, which gives us a taste of the pretty sweet debauchery that started the whole thing.
Overall, It’s hard to enjoy The Hangover without ever even getting a buzz.
Take a Drink: every time a fat comment is made about Alan.
Take a Drink: anytime a living creature dies.
Take a Drink: when Alan calls shotgun.
Down a Shot: whenever Alan fakes out on a handshake.