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The Hangover 3 ••

hangover3Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, John Goodman
Director: Todd Phillips
Screenplay: Todd Phillips & Craig Mazin
Comedy, Rated: R
Running Time: 100 minutes


Scott, I’m afraid I’m suffering from a hangover watching the third and final installment of The Hangover franchise.

(Dr. Scott Allison, Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond)

But just knowing it’s the final installment makes the hangover a little less painful.

In The Hangover 3, our heroes Phil, Stu, and Doug (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha) have decided that quirky Wolfpack friend Alan (Zach Galifianakis) needs to check into a rehab clinic. The four take off for Arizona but they don’t get far before they are run off the road by a crew of Pig-masked ruffians who take them hostage.

The ruffians work for a drug lord named Marshall (John Goodman), who has been robbed of millions of dollars of gold by the master of disaster, Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong). Blaming the Wolfpack, Marshall kidnaps Doug and threatens to kill him unless the remaining three men reclaim the gold and bring him Chow.

And we’re off. The original Hangover movie started out with the Wolfpack waking up from a collective hangover having lost the groom (Doug). They were then on a quest to find the him and figure out why there was a tiger, baby, and missing tooth. It was crazy, frenzied, and a lot of fun. This movie has none of that. It plods along from point A to point B with our heroes never in any real danger and never a moment of surprise.

As with most sequels, this film can’t measure up to the surprising entertainment value of the original movie, which derived much of its fun from the fact that we had several nerdy professionals who were in way over their heads. This formula really can’t be milked more than once.

I do give the filmmakers some credit for transforming the main hero of the story, Alan, from a mentally deranged individual to a somewhat healed and loveable character at the end. But as you pointed out, Greg, the adventures that our heroes face are not terribly interesting and Alan’s transformation rings false.

I’m at a loss to find anything interesting about the characters in this movie. There is no conflict whatsoever. The three leads all get along and Phil and Stu treat Alan like a kid brother rather than the pain in the neck that he is. I don’t think we’ve seen as dull an ensemble since The Big Wedding.

This could have been salvageable if Phil and Stu started out feeling animosity toward Alan. Then they would have someplace to go. They could find that Alan is a special person worthy of their love and affection. But I think that’s what happened in the first two movies. In The Hangover 3 a lot of emphasis was placed on Alan’s quirkiness – his operatic singing voice, his boylike innocence, and his affections for newcomer Melissa McCarthy.

Those are good suggestions, Greg, but I think the main problem is that this movie didn’t know what it wanted to be. Alan is introduced to us as a goofball lunatic who decapitates animals and wishes his mother dead at his father’s funeral. That suggests a dark comedic tone. But that’s not what the film ultimately delivers. There are elements of comedy, drama, and romance that don’t mix well together. The movie floundered and I was left not really caring how things would wrap up at the end.

This was a lackluster finale to a series that started out well but failed to deliver. It was better than some of the poorer offerings we’ve seen this year, but not by much. The Hangover 3 earns 2 Reels out of 5. The buddy element of the film really didn’t hold the rest of the movie together and none of the characters really grew much. I give them just 2 Heroes out of 5.

Movie: reel-2 Heroes: superman-2

The Hangover 3 didn’t quite plummet to the depths reached by the year’s most egregious cinematic failure, The Big Wedding. But it was a disappointing and lackluster effort nonetheless. There were a few mildly amusing moments in the film that earn it 2 Reels out of 5.

The heroes failed to move me on any level. Phil, Stu, and Doug were pretty much all interchangeable, and the villain Marshall woefully underutilized John Goodman’s talents. I give the film some credit for attempting to transform Alan, but it was a half-hearted and unconvincing effort. So like you, I give the hero characters in this movie just 2 Heroes out of 5.

Movie: reel-2 Heroes: superman-2

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