Film review: The Hangover III

Waiting for Video...
  • by Mike McCahill

IN the circumstances, two stars might be considered a minor triumph. The patchy original, released in 2009, made so much money that sequels were inevitable; the real shocker was the $586m the Bangkok-set Part II took, despite being as quantifiably lousy as anything else released in 2011.

The hangover III (15)

Directed by: Todd PhiLlips

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis

Star rating: * *

We’ve now come so far from whatever distinguished the original that, until a post-credits sting, nobody here gets remotely tipsy. Instead, director Todd Phillips ups Part II’s stuntwork while turning his fabled Wolf Pack into a schlubbier Ocean’s 11, pursued through the Vegas underworld by aggrieved heavy Marshall (John Goodman).

It isn’t a radical overhaul, but it permits greater clarity and respite: fewer ladyboys, for one, and more space for Ken Jeong’s amusingly unhinged Mr. Chow. The usual sticking points remain: variably charmless leads and a near-total absence of anything for women to do. Yet toning down the laddishness casts the once-flimsy central relationships in a newly affectionate light. With one anti-Semitic joke at which everyone onscreen blanches, a franchise premised on going too far finally arrives at some understanding of moderation: it’s not necessarily any funnier, but proves somehow more bearable for it.




Back to the top of the page




In partnership with

Complete coverage of the festivals. Guides. Reviews. Listings. Offers

Let's Go!

No Thanks