THE HANGOVER (2009) was a world-wide phenom’ wherein director Todd Phillips took the crudity and fratboy energy of his films OLD SCHOOL and ROAD TRIP genetically modified the ingredients in a Thermomix, sprinkled pixie dust on the concoction and produced a new movie with box office approaching $500 million. People loved THE HANGOVER. Film hipsters who hate everything thought it was funny. Your uncle the fund manager told you it was a satirical look at the dark side of the American bro. Your personal trainer informed you it was a game changer. It made Galafianakis and Cooper household names and did nothing much at all for Ed Helms.
Chances are high that you loved THE HANGOVER, but for those of you who are extraterrestrials inhabiting a human skinsuit and coming to terms with the difficult concepts of “love” and “corporate tax law” here is a brief description of the first movie: Three groomsmen lose their about-to-be-wed buddy in Las Vegas during their drunken misadventures, then must retrace their steps in order to find him.
Then along came THE HANGOVER 2 . It was more or less the same as the first one, except with Thailand and a monkey involved. Critics described it as inferior to the original, but some die-hard fans actually claimed it was better. I know because I heard them arguing about it as I entered the screening for the HANGOVER 3.
For this third outing of The Wolf pack, Phillips realised the “retracing their steps” device was played out, so he and writer Craig Mazin (IDENTITY THIEF) have all four of our heroes hit the road together for reasons that must remain unstated according to the critic’s code. They soon find themselves embroiled in a zany criminal plot that involves a mob boss played by John Goodman (BARTON FINK, KING RALPH) and quicker than you can say racial profiling, they cross paths with the ethics-free Mr Chow (Ken Jeong).
THE HANGOVER 3 is a series of set pieces of varying hilarity and bizarreness. There are stunts, plenty of gross out moments and several story twists. Jeong’s Mr Chow and Galifianakis’s Alan fight it out for who can be the more irresponsible, self-entitled man child. Their whim dictates all the directions the story takes. Cooper’s Phil and Helms’ Stu are reactors to the craziness, never the instigators of events. Performances from Galifianakis and Jeong are fine. Cooper and Helms make less of an impression.
One of the best comedic moments of the movie involve a character played by Mellissa McCarthy (IDENTITY THIEF) who is the only person who seems genuinely taken by Alan’s version of charm. How funny you will find this second sequel will depend on how much you enjoyed the antics of Stu, Phil, Alan and Chow the first time and second time. Some people love The Wolf Pack and judge all their antics as equally hilarious. These were the people laughing at the premiere, for them familiarity breeds even bigger laughs.
Others will find this movie a predictable blend of elements that neither raises nor lowers the bar set by the second film. These are simply the further adventures of those guys. You are getting even more of the stuff you liked previously. Like choosing a giant Kit Kat over the regular-sized version. For me, the humour was very much in line with a film like the aforementioned IDENTITY THIEF. I was never surprised and was sometimes amused.
THE HANGOVER PART 3 is in wide release around Australia. It runs for 100 minutes. I rated it 5/10
HEADS UP: Don’t leave the cinema too quickly at the end, there’s a final sequence during the credits which Hangover fans will definitely want to catch.