Worse Than a Real One, ‘The Hangover Part III’

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HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – With a lazy, over-plotted story, and a cast that are desperately going through the motions, “The Hangover Part III” is the latest example of a contract obligation disguising itself as a movie. Writer/director Todd Phillips sluggishly pounds out another one, with simply no originality.

The most interesting elements in this latest entry of “The Hangover” series is the story gymnastics it has to perform to snare the “Wolf Pack” – portrayed by Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha – into its latest adventure. Who or what will drug them now? What will happen once they’re drugged? Well…nothing. With a plot more complex than a James Bond romp, this “Hangover” is the real deal – as in the sense it ends up providing a thudding headache. These are reputable comic performers, at the very least they should have a script that doesn’t have them visibly sweating, or obviously improvising.

Alan (Zach Galifianakis) has gone a bit crazy since the last hangover of his beloved Wolf Pack. After a starkly inappropriate accident, he is dressed down by his father Sid (Jeffrey Tambor), who then has a heart attack and passes away. This funeral brings together the rest of the Pack, including Stu (Ed Helms), Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Doug (Justin Bartha). It is determined that an intervention is necessary for the addled Alan, to get him back on his anti-depression medication.

Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha
L-R: Alan (Zach Galifianakis), Stu (Ed Helms), Doug (Justin Bartha) and Phil (Bradley Cooper) in ‘The Hangover Part III
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

This means the Pack will drive Alan to a clinic in Arizona, but the plans change when their car is hijacked along the way. They are confronted by Marshall (John Goodman), a mobster searching for Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), who has recently escaped from prison. It seems that Mr. C has stolen Marshall’s gold, and only the Wolf Pack can hunt him down. To hold the upper hand in this task, Marshall kidnaps Doug and will only return him when the mission is accomplished.

How they find Chow, and what they do next, is the highest of high concepts. This is an annoying idiot plot, with each step more ludicrous and uninteresting than the last. The thread of the film, and what presumably makes the Wolf Pack funny, gets lost in an almost obsessive focus on the strange Mr. Chow character, who was only funny in the first film because of his unexpected antics. It’s almost like Todd Phillips wants to spin Chow off as a bizarro Jason Bourne, since the film got so trapped inside his super villainous story arc.

The real question might be, has Zach Galifianakis jumped the shark? His faux gay character persona, ratcheted up to eleven, is intensely annoying. It’s not hard to see the beads of sweat forming on his hairy brow, as he tries to wring out the latest oops-I-did-it-again for his character. The lazy screenplay – which director Phillips co-wrote with Craig Maizin – most likely just said, “Zach improvises here” or “Zach burps at the wrong time.” It was that uneasily presented. Melissa McCarthy is thrown in as a love interest, and her improvisation suggestion probably read “Melissa McCarthy creates love interest character.”

And this question is never answered – what exactly is the “hangover” in this film? Nobody gets drunk or high on roofies or whatever formerly sparked the hijinks. Is the hangover the result of not getting Alan to the clinic? The film also hates animals apparently, or is going for some good old fashioned post modern political incorrectness. At least six animals are killed, even different species, and that’s excluding humans. Which writer made that decision, and the one that has NO hangover, in a film freaking named “The Hangover”? Sigh.

Ken Jeong
Above it All: Mr Chow (Ken Jeong) in ‘The Hangover Part III
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

This is a contractual obligation film, pure and simple, which includes the director, co-writer, actors and production crew. Did they all get working vacations in sunny Mexico, Las Vegas and Tijuana? Heck yes. So why not, for the sake of the billion dollar franchise, could anyone rise above a whisper in creating something palatable? It is another slap in the face of a loyal audience, for which the success of the series, and its excess, will now give everyone a hangover.

This whole review is mostly written in questions, and the answer is “The Hangover Part III.” They cannot take it back, and it is suspected that the Wolf Pack will rise again if this is successful. If movie karma still exists, no market – domestic or foreign – will give this film the success it doesn’t deserve.

“The Hangover Part III” is in theaters everywhere on May 23rd. Featuring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, John Goodman and Melissa McCarthy. Screenplay by Todd Phillips and Craig Maizin. Directed by Todd Phillips. Rated “R”

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2013 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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