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Hangover III: Hang It Up Already

  • Christian Hamaker Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • 2013 5 May
  • COMMENTS
<i>Hangover III</i>: Hang It Up Already

DVD Release Date: October 4, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: May 24, 2013
Rating: R for pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity
Genre: Comedy
Run Time: 100 min.
Director: Todd Phillips
Actors: Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, John Goodman, Melissa McCarthy, Jeffrey Tambor, Heather Graham, Mike Epps

Before seeing The Hangover Part IIIask yourself if a hangover is something you want to experience a third time. Wasn’t once enough, and wasn’t even that experience regrettable? Don’t you regret the repeat misery of The Hangover Part IIDidn’t you vow, in the miserable aftermath, to avoid all future Hangovers?

The first The HangoverTodd Phillips's hard “R” buddy comedy from 2009, was a giant hit that revolved around the ramifications of one crazy night of excess in Las Vegas. The sordid details of the night in question weren’t revealed until the film’s closing credits, when one outrageous photo after another filled in the gaps of debauched behavior. Audiences loved the movie, making it the biggest R-rated comedy ever at the time.

In 2011, Phillips dialed up a sequel that aped the original’s storyline and premise in a crass strategy to give audiences more of the same. The strategy paid off at the box office, leading to the inevitable The Hangover Part IIIWould it be still another carbon copy?

The answer is no, not exactly. While it’s too crude and empty a film to be recommended, The Hangover Part III is, at the very least a step forward from the first Hangover sequel, even though there was nowhere to go but up from that lazy, mercenary undertaking.

The Wolfpack is back in action. Phil (Bradley Cooper, The A-Team), Stu (Ed Helms, Cedar Rapids) and Doug (Justin Bartha, National Treasure: Book of Secrets) have decided to confront Alan (Zach Galifianakis, Due Date), who, in the film’s opening minutes, buys a giraffe but doesn’t succeed in transferring the giraffe to his home alive. The notoriety caused by the giraffe’s death leads Alan’s father (Jeffrey Tambor, Win Win) to have a heart attack, but that doesn’t seem to phase his dependent, demanding son.

Alan’s friends attribute his erratic behavior to Alan’s decision to ditch his medication, so they stage an intervention in an effort to get Alan the help he needs. The move appears to be successful until, on their way to a treatment center, the friends’ car is run off the road by Marshall (John Goodman, Argo), who has been robbed of a stash of gold bars by the Wolfpack’s sometime nemesis Chow (Ken Jeong, Pain & Gain). Marshall detains Doug and threatens to kill him if the rest of the gang doesn’t find and return the missing gold.

Alan leads them to Chow, but things, of course, don’t go as planned, as the friends wind their way to Tijuana and, eventually, Las Vegas. This time it’s Alan and Chow who dominate the proceedings, while Phil and Stu react to the story’s unexpected turns with variations on the lazy (but, at the movies, increasingly familiar) refrain of “What the f---?” Needless to say, a little of that sort of dialogue goes a long way.

Other characters are motivated by revenge, greed and, in Alan’s case, a sudden attraction to a store clerk (Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids) who finds him appealing in a way others before her have not. Alan’s moment with the clerk and his conversation with a young boy later in the film are the closest this movie gets to any heartfelt emotion.

The Hangover Part IIIbilled with the tagline "the epic finale," is neither epic nor, if it succeeds at the box office, likely to be the finale. Written by Hangover Part II scribe Craig Mazin, who also wrote the underwhelming (but financially successful) Identity ThiefThe Hangover Part III aims low, but it at least hits the mark more often than Part II.

That’s a low bar to clear—in fact, it’s hard to imagine a lower bar—but relative to what might have been expected from yet another chapter with the Wolfpack, Part III is less a disaster than a standard disappointment. It’s hard to know whether director Phillips, after three Hangoversis interested in anything involving subtlety or genuine human interest. Good comedic directors need not expand their horizons to attempt genres beyond their grasp, but on the evidence at hand, Phillips’ work in comedies peaked long ago.

More disappointing is Cooper, who proved his acting chops in Silver Linings Playbook but phones it in for this HangoverHe, along with Helms, should cash their Hangover checks and find more promising, creative material to focus on in the future.

CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity: Lord’s name taken in vain multiple times; multiple uses of the “f”-word; numerous other obscenities; obscene gesture; verbal reference to oral sex
  • Alcohol/Smoking/Drugs: Drinking and brief smoking; drinking and driving; Alan is said to be off his meds; a character says he spends his time “doing blow”; chickens are said be fed cocaine; a character exclaims, “I love cocaine!”
  • Sex/Nudity: Reference to anal sex; crude sexual jokes and references; brief shot of topless women and a woman in her panties; kissing; Alan drops his pants and mentions he saw a similar act in a pornographic movie; an escort is a minor character
  • Violence/Crime: A prison riot; a man is seen having a heart attack; the Wolfpack have their hands bound and are kidnapped after their car is run off the road; chickens attack men, and one of the chickens is smothered; Alan reads various charges brought against him, including “masturbating on a public bus” and another for lewd behavior; gunfire and bullet impact shown; a man falls off the roof of a moving car
  • Religion/Morals: A character says, “I pray for you”

Questions? Comments? Contact the writer at crosswalkchristian@hotmail.com.

Publication date: April 25, 2013