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The Hangover Part III - Movie Review

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1 star

Responding to criticism that his second film in the Hangover franchise was nothing more than an unimaginative rehash of the first, director Todd Phillips goes totally off-script - so to speak - with his third installment that has nothing to do with drinking or its ill effects. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with funny, either.

Also missing is the simple but familiar scenario of a group of friends trying to piece together what happened the night before during a drunken stupor, a story that anyone who has ever tied one on can easily relate to. That’s what made the first film so hilariously enjoyable. We saw a bit of ourselves in that first one, but it’s very difficult to find anything familiar in The Hangover Part III.

Not that this third iteration would find any bigger success by following the same worn out formula - that story should have ended after the first one. But turning it into something resembling a two-bit heist flick and thereby draining its original charm and humor certainly isn’t the answer either.  This one-trick-pony has sadly been paraded out two too many times and has now become a sad spectacle of what used to be. Even sadder, people will undoubtedly turn out in droves having forked out good money before realizing the embarrassment that lies before them.

The story picks up a few years after we last saw the Wolfpack retracing their steps before Stu’s wedding in The Hangover Part II. Lacking a purpose in life and now dangerously unstable, black sheep Alan (Zach Galifianakis) is the only member who hasn’t quite settled down. He’s off his meds and in dire need of an intervention.

When Stu (Ed Helms), Doug (Justin Bartha), and Phil (Bradley Cooper) agree to drive him to a rehab facility in Arizona, things go horribly wrong as a truck load of masked thugs - led by a mobster named Marshall (John Goodman) - force their car off the road, kidnap Doug, and give them until morning to turn over the whereabouts of troublemaker Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) who has just escaped - Shawshank style - from a Thai prison and who stole $21 million in gold bullion from Marshall.

So, there you have it. The Hangover III is a gold heist movie. And a bad one at that. The ticking wedding clock, bachelor parties, and drunken blackouts replaced by sweeping scenes of car chases in the Arizona desert and clandestine meetings with evil henchmen in forests of wind turbines. And where’s the hangover? No drinking? That’s just wrong.

Getting way too much screentime this time around is Zach Galifianakis as Alan. This is essentially Alan’s movie as the character is launched into an inner journey meant to run parallel to the main story’s premise. But as with Chow, Alan is better in the background, and only funny in small doses. Both get way too much screentime here. A different story however, is Melissa McCarthy as a horny Las Vegas pawn shop owner.  Her scene with Alan as two love-struck song-birds is sublimely funny but way too short.

A sad, run-down victim of its own success, the Hangover franchise comes to a disappointing close. It really should never have come to this, as the story ended when the first movie did. But never failing to milk a cash cow to death, Hollywood couldn’t resist the opportunity to pad its billion dollar worldwide haul to date. Sadly, the biggest joke to come from The Hangover Part III will be the one on us as we line up by the millions to watch this stinker.

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The Hangover Part III - Movie RviewMPAA Rating: R for pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity.
Runtime:
100 mins
Director
: Todd Phillips
Writer
: Todd Phillips, Craig Mazin
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis; John Goodman
Genre: Comedy
Tagline:
It all ends
Memorable Movie Quote: "We can't be friends anymore. When we get together, bad things happen and people get hurt."
Distributor:
Warner Bros
Official Site:
www.hangoverpart3.com
Release Date: May 24, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available

Synopsis: The Hangover Part III is the third and final film in director Todd Phillips' record-shattering comedy franchise. This time, there's no wedding. No bachelor party. What could go wrong, right? But when the Wolfpack hits the road, all bets are off.

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