Comedies have a pretty terrible track record for sequelisation and franchisation. For every great comedy sequel like Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey or Police Academy4: Citizens on Patrol, there are dozens of shit bombs like Blues Brothers 2000, Weekend at Bernie’s II and Police Academy: Mission to Moscow. So when The Hangover was followed up by one terrible sequel, I can’t imagine why a single person was excited to see The Hangover Part III.
The wolf pack is back. Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis). After a genuinely funny first movie and a genuinely pointless and redundant sequel, the upside of Part III is the writers actually bothered to come up with a new story this time. The problem is, I just didn’t give a shit.
As the breakout character from the first movie, Galifianakis gets the central role this time around. After the death of his father, he starts acting even crazier than usual, leading to his friends holding an intervention. This then leads to some boring, attempted comedy until the core group is kidnapped by John Goodman as crime lord Marshall. There’s some story here that linked to the first two movies, but I dare you to be interested enough to pay attention.
This is where The Hangover Part III goes full blown Urkel. Ken Jeong was legitimately funny as Mr Chow in the first movie. And after watching Part II, it was blatantly obvious that he was so funny because he was used so sparingly. So when Part III trots him out as the central character to everything that keeps the movie moving forward, he wears out his welcome almost immediately.
Galifianakis is a really funny screen presence. Ed Helms has proven himself to be super funny in other things. Bradley Cooper is one of those effortlessly charismatic actors who makes even the most extreme ass holery somehow charming. But Todd Phillips found a way to make me hate all three.
The Hangover trilogy runs a tight parallel with Steven Soderbergh’s Oceans trilogy. The first was a surprisingly great genre movie that came out of the blue to become a big hit. It was light, escapist fluff, but well mede, well executed light, escapist fluff. The second was an exact carbon copy of the first, almost like the writers just used “find and replace” in Microsoft Word to change the location from Vegas to Bangkok.
The third… Well, in both cases, at least the third tried something different and kind of interesting. But in both cases, all goodwill from the original was long gone and long exploited before I ever got a chance to give a crap about the final installment.
The Hangover Part III isn’t a terrible movie, it’s just a totally unnecessary one. There are a few funny moments, but nothing that wasn’t done better and funnier in the first movie. Parts II and III are the kinds of sequels that even manage to take some of the shine off the original. So if you’re fan of the first and have managed to so far avoid the sequels, keep it that way. You’ll like the original all the more for it.