On The Edge Films

Cinematic Thoughts for Cinematic Minds

The Hangover Part III

2013/ USA

Director: Todd Phillips

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, John Goodman, Melissa McCarthy, Heather Graham, Mike Epps

The Hangover Part II‘ was as reads the much hyped sequel to the original ‘The Hangover‘ but back in 2011 this sequel left a bitter taste in movie fans’ mouths. It was largely criticised for being a re-hashing of the first film and merely transported to the mean streets of Bangkok. In that The Wolf Pack wake up after a night of drugs and drinking to discover one of their companions is missing and after long searches around Las Vegas/ Bangkok they work out that their missing person was right back where they started all along, durrr. However, you’ll note that you spend the nearly the whole running time of Part II trying to figure out what the hell happened to Phil (Cooper), Stu (Helms) and Alan (Galifianakis) only to find out that the same has happened again. The fact that it was the same was all a big joke and a big finger to us as viewers. What Todd Phillips and co. decided to do was not pander to what movie- goers wanted to see and make a big pun of their supposed lack of originality. They kept the plot details firmly under wraps and would not disclose anything prior to the film’s release. I think that alone is quite clever and funny, so it’s a shame that Part III decides to deviate from this and attempt something new.

The Hangover Part III begins with the ever infamous Lesley Chow (Jeong) who after a long wait it seems has escaped from the Thai prison in which he was trapped. We then cut to Alan driving down the motorway with a Giraffe in a tow truck. He manages to kill the Giraffe with a low lying bridge totally by accident and the stress of the aftermath of the crash ends up killing his Father as well. At the funeral The Wolf Pack; Phil, Stu and Doug (Bartha) all come together and decide to take Alan to a rehabilitation clinic in Arizona. On the way they are hijacked by a gangster called Marshall superbly played by John Goodman who tells the gang they must find Lesley Chow (who incidentally stole some gold from him) and takes Doug as insurance. Phil, Stu and Alan must come together as a team to track down Chow traversing new terrain in Mexico and eventually returning to their old haunt Las Vegas, Nevada for their last showdown with excess, chaos and their devious Asian friend.

It must be said that this a very funny film. The chemistry between all three leads is as ever hilarious. Galifianakis is a personal favourite of mine in any film he is in. But Alan is his James Bond, he will never shake the notoriety he has gained from playing this character and there will surely be a spin-off involving him or a fourth installment to come at some point in the future. The dangers the trio face are this time even more ridiculous and you’ll come away laughing no matter how invested you are in the characters.

But like I said before Phillips has really tried to move away from the format of his previous films so that this time the gang are tracking down Chow to free Doug, rather than not knowing where Doug is. It takes a lot of effort to finally catch Chow but this also results in us getting a lot of Ken Jeong on screen. Chow is a great character but this film does allow him too much screen time, you get a bit bored of the homosexual gags after a while and he begins to become irritating. The film plays out like a cheesy take on a gangster thriller road movie. I can’t help but feel that returning to Vegas was a bit lazy when we saw how funny the characters were when they were in Thailand and completely out of their comfort zones. Just imagine them traversing the streets of say Rio De Janeiro, Moscow or London. The difference in cultures allows for a much richer growth of comedy. Sadly Phillips has for now called time on his Hangover association and has attempted to bring us a fresh new perspective to view the characters whilst wrapping up his trilogy all in one go.

The cameos are hit and miss as well, John Goodman is very good as always and Melissa McCarthy as “the female Alan” works very well with Galifianakis. If a fourth film isn’t on the cards you can be sure that some kind of spin-off story will launch from this excellent pairing of actors. Mike Epps is back as “Black Doug”, the guy that sells them drugs in the first film, but is rather useless to the story. All he does is tell them to not call him Black Doug, shout and point guns a lot. Heather Graham is also not needed in the slightest, her introduction to the plot stops the movie dead and was just an excuse to show us “Carlos the masturbating baby” now that he’s grown up a bit more and can talk.

Overall it’s an entertaining film, it will make you laugh but you can’t help but feel you wanted to laugh more… I certainly did. I don’t expect Phillips will have any plans right now to make Part IV but in terms of rounding off the trilogy he’s not done the best job. The films labours under trying to be new but conclusive at the same time. Phil, Stu and Alan are enough to get you through to the end without being bored but it doesn’t feel like the send off The Wolf Pack deserve… and it probably isn’t the last we will see of them anyway.

Don’t stop watching the film as soon as the credits run either, there is a nice little scene at the end which alone is funnier than the rest of the film!


-Josh Senior


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