There are two ways to judge this trilogy closing film from Todd Phillips, 1.) as a full-fledged film and 2.) as a comedy. Either way, the result is not good. This third film is further proof of why the 2009 film should not have been followed up. The film was a one-film deal; the plot did not lend itself to sequels so why make them? This film may go in a new direction and it is in some ways risky, as some fans may feel alienated by it. Yet the problem is that this comedy is not funny, in fact in many ways it is more of half-baked heist/hostage thriller than a laugh out loud hangover movie. Moreover the first actual hangover scene takes place after the initial credits and offers the audience the best laugh of the entire flick.
The film has a very poor joke formulation and a very lazy script that does not exactly make this the worst film of the year, just a very lazy and forgettable sequel. The hostage aspects of the plotting may be a different route to take but there are few real pleasures to be taken from any of the scenes. The opening gag with a Giraffe is mind numbingly unfunny and, unless you actively enjoy animal cruelty, pensioner abuse and bumping into guitars, so is the rest. Phillips’s direction is a scattershot and faded version of the original and this sequel further validates just how unnecessary it ever was for all involved to do another two films.
The cast offer some reprieve in that they try and retain something from the film. This trio is still appealing but the material attempts to change that. 2011’s sequel was more mean spirited in nature but this film takes it further and the main characters’ charms seem to have lessened as a result. In fact Ed Helms (as Stu) and Bradley Cooper’s (as Phil) talents seem to have been a bit wasted and even Zach Galifianakis’ (as Alan) commitment to silliness is diminished a bit. Also Justin Bartha is again undervalued as the ever-suffering Doug. Although John Goodman’s appearance as gangster Marshall is great to see and its nice to see Heather Graham return and Bridesmaids’ Melissa McCarthy is good too. Still it counts for little when you consider the mass usage of Ken Jeong’s Mr. Chow. The character was alright in small doses but in the lead is interminably annoying.
In all fairness, someone here does care about what is happening but it is hard to see exactly who. The plot admirably brings the “Wolfpack’s” journey full circle. There is also the odd thrill here but the fact is that it is all so little in quantity. The Hangover Part III is not a god-awful work that takes the crown as 2013s worst film but it is a needless expansion of a needless expansion of a fantastic comedy. The Hangover franchise is one that should never have existed and many will perhaps feel that after this third film. You are all best watching the first film, then going on an all-nighter with your pals and forgetting Parts 2 and 3 ever happened.