Film review: The Hangover Part III

Zach Galifianakis as Alan. Picture: Complimentary
Zach Galifianakis as Alan. Picture: Complimentary
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A SHORT list of things that are more amusing than The Hangover Part III: Beverly Hills Cop III, The Hangover Part II and possibly even The Wright Way.

The Hangover Part III (15)

Director: Todd Phillips

Running time: 100 minutes

Rating *

Is it too much to hope that The Hangover Part III would learn something from its two predecessors? Even if decapitated giraffes and anal rape were the stuff of comedy genius, the further adventures of the Wolf Pack would still leave with a sinking feeling more usually associated with a fresh outbreak of bird flu.

Once again Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis are plunged into a disaster, and once again they are on the road, this time trying to deliver the now insufferable manchild Alan (Galifianakis) to a rehab clinic in Arizona, after his father dies and he goes off his meds.

As usual, personality-free Doug (Justin Bartha) goes missing for a large chunk of the film: this time he’s carjacked and taken hostage by a mobster (John Goodman). In order to retrieve Doug, the others have to track down their cokehead chum from Hangovers passim Mr Chow (Ken Jeong) and deliver him to the crime lord. This takes them to Mexico, where the fun never starts.

At this point in the franchise, writer-director Todd Phillips has all but vanquished any goodwill generated by his first perverse, painfully politically incorrect pleasure when it came out in 2009. This franchise is now just a money-grab from inattentive frat boys, so lazily scripted that there isn’t even a Hangover in Part III

Some comedy struggles from plot point to plot point. This struggles from sentence to sentence. There’s some brief fresh weirdness from Melissa McCar­thy, as an assistant in a pawn shop who takes a shine to Alan because she’s his mirror image, and Heather Graham, the friendly stripper from the first film, is brought back, possibly because she’s less expensive than other previous guest stars like Mike Tyson. Other awkward questions might include the weight of gold bricks nowadays. There’s about $20m being toted around in duffel bags in this movie, and you’d think they would look a little bit heavier than swinging around a sports kit.

Now a bona fide film star, thanks to films like Silver Linings Playbook rather than The Hangover, Bradley Cooper does his best to keep his head down as Phil, the handsome irritable member of the group, which leaves the way clear for Galifianakis to dominate the film in much the same way that Atilla dominated the Hunnic Empire.

If previous Hangover movies have taught us anything, it’s the benevolence of those in adult entertainment, the comedy value of mean-spirited violence and that tattoos are really, really easy to get removed. Arms, faces – wherever; there’s never any permanent tissue damage incurred. The scar of having had to sit through The Hangover Part III lasts a lot longer.