And so Todd Phillips ends his gross-out opus with a third film that critics are already not liking very much at all. After complaining that The Hangover Part II was too similar to the original film, now people are complaining that this one isn't really about a hangover and is, in fact, too different.
All this can be boiled down to one simple truth: The Hangover shouldn't have been a trilogy to begin with.
Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the first film. It was completely overhyped and ultimately completely overrated but it had a fun Memento-esque concept and a fresh, enjoyable cast. It was a good comedy, an entertaining watch, nothing more. In order to turn something like The Hangover into a trilogy, it was obvious that both the cast and the original concept would need to return. Which they did, in The Hangover II. A film which certainly upped the danger-factor for our characters but ended up feeling a bit too mean-spirited. Yes, it's the humour that has suffered with every film. With each of them getting darker and darker, the gross-out lols have become probably too cruel to be truly funny.
Which brings me to The Hangover Part III.
I enjoyed the second film somewhat because it at least had a handful of funny lines/moments, a lot of it was in bad taste but hey, a lot of the first film was too, I suppose. With this third film, we've gone from having a handful of funny lines/moments to a couple. All of which were arguably introduced in the trailer. Again, this goes for more of a dark thriller vibe than a straight-up comedy. This feels like a Coen Brothers movie if the Coens lost all their writing capabilities. Again, here we have a mean-spirited movie but this time, it's far too concerned with being moody and gritty to be funny. Hell, the opening scene is so epic it belongs in a completely different type of movie. I liked it, especially the "Khaaaaaan!"-style approach to Mr Chow's name, but it set the tone for a harsh, sleazy thriller, not a goofball Friday night movie you can watch with your friends and a couple of beers or whatever, which was what the first film (and, to a certain extent, the second film) was. Again, the action takes place in Vegas as plot-points we completely forgot even existed in the first film come back to haunt the Wolfpack. The focus this time not being on the aftermath of a hangover but rather a mission set in motion by John Goodman's villain to find Chow, who allegedly stole vast amounts of gold from him. Why a wealthy, powerful criminal like Goodman's Marshall would send three morons to pursue such a volatile task is beyond me but ok.
What follows is a film which really doesn't make enough sense to work as a thriller and really isn't funny enough to work as a comedy.
By trying to fill plot-holes from the first Hangover film, this movie actually introduces new plot-holes and ends up feeling much clunkier than any of its predecessors. There are a few lols here and there, Zach Galifianakis tries desperately to hold the whole thing together and bring some laughs to the table, which he kind of manages though his character comes off as weird, awkward and creepy more often than not. Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms also do a decent job bringing a sense of urgency to the proceedings but sadly, this is a Mr Chow-heavy movie so if you find Ken Jeong's stereotypical character grating and annoying, strap yourselves in. There is a hangover in this movie, technically the whole movie builds up to it, but by the time it happens you'll be wishing it had happened earlier and driven the plot somewhat. Had it happened near the first half hour, you would have gotten a carbon-copy of the first film but it quite probably would have been at least funny. No Mike Tyson this time but Heather Graham's back and so is "black Doug" so there you go, all your favourite characters finally reunited!
Overall, The Hangover Part III is easily the least funny film in the trilogy and its thriller-worthy plot is not nearly quirky or clever enough to make sense in a gross-out comedy of this type. The main cast is as likeable as ever and there are a couple of lols in there somewhere but it's just not good enough for what's meant to be a hilarious sleaze-ride.
Oh well, at least it's all over now.
The movie does have a decapitated giraffe, I guess that's something...