The Hangover Part III

The Hangover Part III

What happened, bitches? Didn't the letdown of The Hangover Part II – basically Part I set in Thailand but minus the laughs – teach you anything? Guess not. I left Part III thinking that everyone involved went dutifully through the motions. Nothing more. The first movie left you with an exhilarating rush. All that Part III leaves is, well, a hangover.

There are a few smiles. First, it's nice to see the Wolfpack back. Bradley Cooper as teacher Phil, Ed Helms as dentist Stu, Justin Bartha as Doug (the lost groom from the first movie) and Zach Galifianakis as Alan, the misfit who's lost in almost every situation. My second smile happened after the boys have a near-lethal run-in with a gangster (Hangover newbie John Goodman) and found themselves back in Vegas, where The Hangover earned its place in history as the most successful R-rated comedy in, well, history.

You'd think that Sin City would remind the actors and director Todd Phillips, who co-wrote the script with Craig Mazin, what made the first Hangover work like gangbusters. But no. Except for the nut-ball presence of Ken Jeong as crazed mobster Mr. Chow, the movie just lies there. In one scene, Chow parachutes down over the Vegas Strip muttering curses about the "motherfuckers" who've ruined his party. Watching the movie strain for laughs makes you feel Chow's frustration. For a movie critic, screaming "motherfuckers" just won't cut it. There's a responsibility to dig deeper into the reasons the final chapter in the Hangover trilogy goes wrong – beyond indicting the paycheck-driven greed that incites Hollywood to repeat and repeat every movie that mines box-office gold. Or maybe that's reason enough. Motherfuckers.

From The Archives Issue 1184: June 6, 2013