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