Stars: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, John Goodman, Melissa McCarthy, Jeffrey Tambor, Heather Graham, Mike Epps, Sasha Barrese, Jamie Chung | Written by Todd Phillips, Craig Mazin | Directed by Todd Phillips
The Hangover Part III bills itself as the ‘epic finale to the Hangover trilogy’, which is pretty bold stuff for what is ostensibly a fairly knock-about, not that funny comedy series. Yeah that’s right, I said not that funny. I saw the first and didn’t really laugh, I skipped the second because I heard it was awful and wasn’t invited to watch it for free and I didn’t really laugh at this third outing. That’s not to say I didn’t find the film fairly watchable and inoffensive – it provided a similar level enjoyment to finding that the cup of tea you forgot about hasn’t gotten as quite cold as you expected it to.
Part III picks up a couple of years after the last film. Alan (Galifianakis) has gone steadily off the rails and his friends Phil (Cooper) and Stu (Helms) agree to take him to a rehab clinic. En route, they are intercepted by John Goodman’s aggrieved gangster, who conscripts the gang into tracking down their bad penny Mr Chow (Jeong), who has stolen lots of gold from him. Hi-jinks ensue, in a previously untapped action-thriller manner.
Whilst I may not be a big fan of the Hangover series thus far, I have become a big fan of Community and as such, Ken Jeong. I was looking forward to seeing him on screen and his outrageous behaviour is probably about as funny as the film gets. I also liked the parts of the film that were (hopefully) deliberately pretentious and grandiose, providing a drier kind of humour than you might typically expect.
But yeah, generally speaking, the film isn’t really that funny. You don’t have the ridiculous set up of the first or (I’m told) the second and as such, there isn’t really an element of farce. The trio don’t actually go out drinking and there isn’t an actual hangover in the film to speak of. This is a bit odd. That they’ve gone for the whole gang-land thriller thing is a bit odd, kind of like seeing a thirteen year old boy wearing his dad’s suit.
So whilst there aren’t many laughs (certainly none that would emanate from the belly region) and the plot is a bit of a mismatch with the tone of the previous films, the basic charisma of the three main stars allows you to watch the film without getting too upset or annoyed about it. Unlike other comedies coming out soon, it doesn’t outstay its welcome and at least attempts to throw a bone to female actors, giving Melissa McCarthy a role with at least four lines. Heather Graham is also given a token cameo too. It’s sure to make millions and will probably entertain many people in the cinema and in their homes for some time to come, but don’t go in expecting The Hangover Part III to reinvent the comedy wheel. Most of the stars have already bettered their appearances in the series and will most likely do so again. In the meantime, I guess there are worse ways to slum it cinematically than in this.
Special features on the Blu-ray include: Replacing Zach: The Secret Auditions, Outtakes, The Wolfpack’s Wildest Stunts, The Wolf Pack – Wrestling!, Zach Galifianakis in his own Words, Pushing the Limits, Action Mash-Up, Extended Scenes and Inside Focus: The Real Chow.
The Hangover Part III is out now on DVD and Blu-ray.