Thursday, June 13, 2013

Film Review: The Hangover Part III

This review will be shorter than most, because there is not much to write about.  The original Hangover film was audacious and raunchy.  But above all it was funny.  It also had characters that made interior personal journeys.  Granted some like Stu (Ed Helms) made deeper life changes than Phil (Bradley Cooper) or Alan (Zach Galifinakis), but the story changed them and made them a little better than they were.

The Hangover Part II was vile.  I have very little else to say about it.

The Hangover Part III wisely throws away the recycled plot formula from the first 2.  Here, after Alan's father dies, the wolfpack decide to drive him to a rehab clinic.  But a gangster played by John Goodman kidnaps Doug (Justin Bartha).  The comic trio is forced to find Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) in order to get Doug back.

I have no problem with the change up in plot structure.  In fact I welcome it.  But with the change in form, there is also a change in style.  The movie plays much more like a heist movie than a wacky comedy.  And that would be fine if they made it as funny as the first.

The jokes fall flat for the most part because most of the characters have lost their flavor.  This is a movie about Alan.  Stu and Phil are there only because you couldn't have a Hangover movie without them.  But the two saner wolves in the pack have little else to do in the story than react to Alan's insanity.  And this would also be more forgivable if Alan was more redeemable.  But rather than enjoying his wacky free spirit, I found myself wanting to wring his neck.

The film also features much more Ken Jeong, which is not a good thing.  If you give him a good enough part, Jeong is hysterical.  But nonsensical is not the same as humorous and that is where his storyline fails.  Rather than rooting for a happy resolution, I was just waiting for the movie to end.  And while it felt like there was some character development by the end of the first movie, the characters just felt static in this one.

The Hangover Part III is not a bad movie per se.  But it is far below the original.  The movie tries to leave you on a high note with an after-credit scene and a montage of the wolf pack from past films, but all that does is remind you how much better the first Hangover was.

2 and 1/2 out of 5 stars.

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