The Hangover Part III is a misleading title because, unlike the first two films in the series, there is no hangover involved. Everyone is, for the most part, sober, meaning the film is not (thankfully) rehashing the old formula where a bunch of guys wake up from being so drunk that they have to retrace their steps to figure out what on earth happened the night before. What Part III is, in effect, is a heist film, and I’m not quite sure if that is a good thing.
In the “epic finale” to the Hangover trilogy, the Wolfpack’s past catches up with them and they must help a gangster (played by John Goodman) track down insane escaped prisoner Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong). The Wolfpack spends the majority of the film running around trying to break into places and doing stupid stuff. Instead of trying to figure out what happened the night before, they are trying to figure out how to stay alive. It’s different to the formula that made the original such a huge hit, but after the vitriol that followed the second film, it was indeed time to make a change.
For me, the problem with Part III is that it’s still just not that funny. Most of the laughs, which are extremely hit-and-miss, still come from two sources — Zach Galifianakis’s mentally disturbed Alan, and the crazy and over-the-top antics of Ken Jeong as Chow. Both of these characters are essentially one-trick ponies. Alan does and says stupid, infantile and random things, and Chow is just nuts. You may get a couple of giggles here and there if that’s your thing, but the act gets old in a hurry. And if you already had enough of both of these guys after the two previous films, then chances are you’ll hate this one.
On the positive side, at least the plot is different to its two predecessors, and because of that there is an element of freshness. But even as a heist film, it’s still not very good. The ideas and the action are all rather stale and offer no genuine excitement. I guess it’s hard to get excited when you never really cared about any of the characters.
Now keep in mind, I wasn’t one of those people who fell madly in love with the original Hangover, which was an instant hit lauded for its outrageousness and comedic sting, and more or less made the careers of Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis (and to a lesser extent Ed Helms and Ken Jeong). I didn’t find it particularly funny apart from some unexpected Ken Jeong moments, and he got on my nerves after a little while. The second film was a disaster and one of the worst films of 2011. It was offensive and painfully unfunny.
So in comparison, I suppose Part III isn’t too bad. It’s better than the second film by default but lacks the explosiveness of the original, which I didn’t find that great either. It’s just a barely passable comedy, and only if you really like the stars.
2 stars out of 5