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‘Hangover: Part III’ disappoints

The Hangover: Part III is an anticlimactic finish to what was an excellent series of movies.

Lacking the excellence and originality of The Hangover and the boundary pushing darkness of The Hangover: Part II, the final film in the trilogy gives new meaning to the phrase “finish with a whimper.” Even though it attempts to break away from the formula of the previous two movies, Part III actually never manages to truly stand on its own, and as a result, is a major disappointment.

The film begins with Alan Garner’s (Zach Galifianakis) father dying suddenly of a heart attack.

The childish Alan becomes even more out of control than usual, and his family and friends decide to stage an intervention, resulting in Phil Wenneck (Bradley Cooper), Dr. Stuart “Stu” Price (Ed Helms) and Doug Billings (Justin Bartha), the “wolf pack” from the previous two films, volunteering to drive him to a treatment center.

Unfortunately, on their way to the center, the four are kidnapped by Marshall (John Goodman), a crime boss. Marshall is looking for Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), an acquaintance of the four, and he thinks the wolf pack can find him. Holding Doug as collateral, he instructs Stu, Phil and Alan to bring him Chow or Doug dies.

Things get even more complicated, and the friends once again find their world has spun out of control.

I have to give the creators behind The Hangover: Part III credit for trying something new.

While the previous Hangover films used the device of the wolf pack retracing the aftermath of a wild night that none of them remember, Part III eschews it, instead opting for a more traditional action-comedy setup. Unfortunately, innovation doesn’t always translate into quality.

Most people probably remember the first two films chiefly for how outrageous they were, but another key to their success was the amount of character development in them. Particularly in the first film, all three of the main characters truly grow and change over the course of the movie, as finding out what really happened the night before becomes a journey of self-discovery for them.

Unfortunately, the characters in Part III generally stay stationary. Stu is a stick in the mud, Alan is immature and Phil’s defining trait in this iteration appears to be that he’s good looking and competent.  Indeed, the three leads of this movie are pretty much exactly where they started, as people, by the end of the film, which is something you’d never say about the original or Part II.

This isn’t helped by a drop in the overall quality of the acting.

Cooper and Helms, both of whom are normally top notch, are pretty much MIA throughout the course of this movie. A lot of this is the result of their characters having been neutered, but neither manages to improve upon the hand they were dealt.

Galifianakis fares a little better, but his arc is ultimately unsatisfying. Much of the same can be said about Jeong. His Chow is once again entertainingly outrageous, but his shtick isn’t expanded upon enough for the movie to lean on it as much as it does.

Honestly, the only true stand out here is Melissa McCarthy, whose brief turn as Alan’s love interest is excellent.

If there is one great part of this movie, it’s the soundtrack. Featuring songs from artists such as Black Sabbath, Billy Joel, Danzig and even Hanson, the music is responsible for some truly awesome moments and is about the only thing that really stands out about this film.

Overall, however, this is just one big let down. Sure, there are some funny moments, but, coming from a series that made a name for itself because of its daring and creativity, this final installment is surprisingly stock and safe.

The original Hangover gave us excellent character development, an ingenious premise and a truly awesome number of sketches. Part II was a dark exploration of the characters and premise the original introduced us to.

Part III takes whatever momentum was left over from these two films and does nothing with it, letting any fondness or excitement the audience might have for the material slowly die.

If you do choose to see The Hangover: Part III, though, be sure to stick around after the credits for the funniest scene in the movie.

Ham-fisted, crude and unpolished, it is never funnier than anything from the movie that came before it. For the apparent conclusion of what was one of the funniest, most engaging comedy series of the last decade, that is just sad.

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Posted by on May 30, 2013. Filed under Arts and Entertainment,Columns,Movie Reviews,Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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