Different’s Not Always Good: The Hangover Part III (Movie Review)

http___makeagif.com_media_5-12-2013_6z0vrLLet’s see…where did we last leave off?  Oh yeah!  When we last saw the Wolf Pack, Alan (Zach Galifianakis) had just surprised Dr. Stu (Ed Helms), I mean the dentist, with Mike Tyson at his Thailand wedding (read all about the good times here and here if you need a quick refresher).  Now I don’t know about you, but wow!  What a friend Alan is!  I need a friend like him, and of course the mad cash necessary to have an exotic wedding like Stu did in Thailand wouldn’t hurt either.  And now that two years have separated us from Part II’s bitter reception in 2009, I hope a lot of the complainers will at least give this one a chance and come into this with an unbiased attitude.  I know that’s a lot to ask for and I know I’m guilty of not doing that myself, but for Pete’s sake, not Christ’s, give this third and final installment of the franchise a chance.  Part II is like fine wine to me.  The more I watch it, like the more wine ages, the more I enjoy and relish it.  I know I’m in the minority here, but after the stinker that was Iron Man 3, The Hangover Part III, along with Man of Steel, Kick-Ass 2 and Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, is one of my most anticipated films of the year.   I heart these Wolf Pack Boys.  Please Todd Phillips…don’t let me/us down.  I’m sticking my neck out for you here defending Part II against all the haters out there (you know who you are).

This third and final installment reunites my beloved Wolf Pack, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis, along with returning stars Jeffrey Tambor, Ken Jeong, Justin Bartha, Jamie Chung and Heather Graham.  This time around we also get treated with visits from John Goodman, Melissa McCarthy and a few more that I’ll leave as surprises as not to spoil anything.  The mighty Todd Phillips returns to helm the project, which he claims drastically changes the rules and formula he so tightly clanged to in the first two outings, based on a script he wrote with fellow screenwriter Craig Mazin.  Does Hangover III really depart from the beat down script we saw rehashed again in a different setting in the second outing?  Well, that’s exactly what we’re here to discuss today as I’m sure that’s burning in everyone’s minds.  So grab your favorite beverage, find your favorite recliner and let’s talk in great detail about the new adventures of the brothers Wolf Pack and friends.

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So have I pumped you up so far, huh?  You‘re probably thinking now maybe this Hangover Part III thing isn’t really that bad, right?  Well, I hate to constantly be the bearer of bad news, but I need to stop any forward progress or momentum I have gained so far in this review and perform a reality check for everyone.  The reality is the following.  Remember how disappointed we all were when we first watched The Hangover Part II and thought to ourselves “wow, that was a play-by-play reenactment of the first film, except in a different setting?”  I know I said it and I’m willing to bet you also said it too.  So keeping that in mind, why do I find myself saying that I wish The Hangover Part III was a play-by-play reenactment of the first two films?  Well, that’s quite easy because The Hangover Part III is very much a departure from the formula of the first two films and I feel like I’m ruining Santa Claus for every 5-year old when I say it ain’t that good.  Okay you got me.  It’s pretty horrible.  Read on and I’ll tell you why.  But if you choose to depart from reading the rest of this review this is as good as place as any to stop.  This has been more entertaining than the 90+ minutes you’ll spend watching this dud unfold on the big screen…I guarantee you…and cheaper too!

The film picks up two years after the events in Thailand.  Ah.  Remember Thailand?  After you see this one you’re going to say I really wish we could be back in Thailand with Mike Tyson singing that wedding rap song again.  So where were we?  Oh yeah…two years later.  We find Alan still at odds with himself and now off his medications.  Uh oh.  That’s big trouble!  That means no boundaries for Alan.  He’s outside his mind’s prison walls.  If you’re a fan of the films, I’m sure you know where I’m going with my metaphors and descriptions here.  So what needs to be done to help Alan out?  How about an intervention?  That sounds like a good idea.  And so it happens, the Wolf Pack, immediate family and a little boy stage an intervention for Alan.  Phil tells Alan that he loves him and Alan melts like he’s holding a puppy dog.  Aw.  Too cute.  So it’s off to gold old Arizona as the boys, this time including white Doug (Bartha) too, hit the road one last time to escort Alan to New Horizons, a rehab facility.  But like usual, things never go as planned for these lovable gentlemen.  Enter John Goodman’s character (I’m purposely leaving out his name as to avoid any spoilers)…

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I guess you can say this is the point, after a long, excruciating Act 1, where the sh1t hits the proverbial fan, but not in the way we are accustomed to in the first two films…and I’ll say and emphasize here the word unfortunately.  The Wolf Pack is sent on a mission, more like forced to complete a mission in order to save someone.  Can you guess who?  I don’t think you should have a problem.  Chow (Jeong) is up to no good as usual.  Familiar faces re-unite from the first film and new faces emerge.  But what it all boils down to is one heck of a boring narrative instead of the backwards, Memento-like, let’s trace our steps caper we are by now used to.  And that brings me to my next point…Craig Mazin.

My co-screnwriter and I were just discussing the brilliance of the man, Craig Mazin.  We look up to this guy, read his blogs and listen to his screenwriting podcasts.  So what happened, Craig and Todd for that matter?  I mean, where’s the humor we are accustomed to from the previous two installments?  Granted Alan is a nut-cracker whenever he speaks, but you can’t carry the film squarely on his shoulders can you?  Well, since you are not here in person to answer that question I’ll answer it for you, Craig.  No, you can’t.  You tried, and from everybody that I talked to after the screening, you failed.

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Now keep this in mind, I promised myself after seeing this last night that I would take a day to digest and take it all in before writing this review.  After all, I left The Hangover Part II years ago not feeling great about it, but ended up loving it after subsequent viewings.  However, I don’t have the same warm and fuzzies about this one.  Like how they ruined the third Pirates of the Caribbean with a burdening dark and ominous tone, this one got the same treatment and unfortunately forgot to insert the comedic and over-the-top moments that catapulted and thrusted the first two films into the hearts of so many fans.  You sure know how to alienate your franchise’s audience.  This might as well been the sequel to the third Matrix film.  When it was over I was like that’s it?  You have to be kidding me?  I love spending every waking moment I can with the irresistible Wolf Pack and Cooper’s dreamy eyes (ha ha I’m kidding), but are you freaking kidding me?  You are ending it this way?  Will I ever look at the first two films the same again?  I guess only time will tell.  The only thing I can tell you is this.  If you do nothing else, even if you fall asleep throughout the film’s shorter than thou runtime, make sure you stay around for the end credits sequence.  I almost didn’t think it would happen after the way the movie just ended like it did, but in my opinion, it was the only redeemable value I can find in this one, sad but so true.  The negative critical scores don’t lie about this one I’m afraid.  I’ll give it another chance this weekend with my girlfriend, but I’m not expecting any miracles.  The only reason it is getting the score I gave it below was because I have hope that subsequent viewings may yield more fondness for it and I can’t help it, I love my Wolf Pack boys.

If you are doing the math with the score below, you will notice that it’s lower than the score awarded to Ghost Rider 2 by Aaron Neuwirth, but come one, we all know Ghost Rider 2 wasn’t a score of a 3.  Ha ha.  He’s gonna kill me.  He hates assigning a point value to films and in the case of The Hangover Part III, it breaks my heart to betray my fellow Wolf Pack and do so too.  I haven’t seen it yet, but if you have a choice, I think you’re probably better off going to see Fast and Furious 6 this holiday weekend.  I can’t back that up factually, but I feel pretty good about that recommendation.  Happy Memorial Day everyone!

The Hangover Part III opens theatrically everywhere late night tonight.  Don’t run, fall and hurt yourself.  Walk slowly and obey all traffic laws.

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1 Response to “Different’s Not Always Good: The Hangover Part III (Movie Review)”

  1. Gregg

    I heard a Tampa DJ today say she saw this movie and it was hilarious. She should lose her job. That’s blatant false advertising if I’ve ever heard it.