The Hangover Part III Director: Todd Phillips Screenwriters: Todd Phillips, Craig Mazin Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Heather Graham, Justin Bartha, John Goodman, Mike Epps Warner Bros. Pictures Rated R | 100 Minutes Release Date: May 24, 2013
Directed by Todd Phillips, The Hangover Part III picks up two years after the events of Part II. Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Doug (Justin Bartha) are living peaceful lives at home with their families.
As for Alan (Zach Galifianakis), the Wolfpack’s own personal Fat Jesus is in need of an intervention after the sudden death of his father (Jeffrey Tambor). Who better than his three best friends to take him to New Horizons, a mental health treatment facility in Arizona, to get his life together.
Meanwhile, Leslie “Chinese Nuts” Chow (Ken Jeong) escapes from a Thai prison in a scene straight out of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. The Wolfpack’s trip to Arizona is derailed by a run-in with a drug kingpin named Marshall (John Goodman) and his henchmen, including “Black Doug” (Mike Epps) from the first film. Marshall demands the guys find and bring him Mr. Chow, who double-crossed him, keeping “White Doug” as collateral.
Written by Phillips and Craig Mazin (Scary Movie 4, Superhero Movie), The Hangover Part III is a bleak, humorless retread of the past two Hangover films. Phillips’ third and final entry in the franchise feels like a subversive prank; so unfunny you’ll wonder if it’s purposefully so.
The Hangover Part III isn’t actually a comedy, it’s a cocaine-addled contractual obligation. It’s an angry film, with a plot that has less to do with drunken debauchery and more to do with senseless violence and cruelty to animals. Alan decapitates a giraffe; Mr. Chow forces a rooster to commit self-cannibalism before smothering it with a pillow. If that isn’t enough, the repulsive Chinese gangster takes time out from his busy schedule of being the most annoying, repugnant character on screen to snap the necks of a couple sleeping dogs. Belly laughs, guys.
Remember when The Hangover was a raunchy comedy about some bros who went to Las Vegas for a bachelor party? There’s no hangover this time around, just a splitting headache named Ken Jeong. There’s a peculiar reliance on Jeong in this movie. When did this become The Leslie Chow Trilogy? Few individuals have been so irritating on screen. We’re talking Jar Jar Binks, Mudflap and Skids level insufferable here.
Cooper, Helms, and Galifianakis, on the other hand, appear completely uninterested in the proceedings, going through the motions in the hope that they can pursue more meaningful work afterward. With the success of the first film, which made close to $500 million at the box office, the trio made $5 million each for their roles in The Hangover Part II. As for Part III, the three stars will each make upwards of $15 million. If I were cashing that kind of paycheck, I’d be more than happy to sleepwalk through an entirely dull, laughter-free exercise too.
Cash-grab movies like this (and Iron Man 3) make millions of dollars, but ultimately devalue their respective franchises. The Hangover Part III is a tedious, irrelevant, and disposable installment in a series that was better off as a standalone film. At the screening I attended, there wasn’t a single laugh during the film’s 100-minute runtime. We all just sat there in silence with an unshakeable feeling that the movie’s only joke was on us.