17a. The Hangover, Part III (R) - Runtime: 100 minutes
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms
Director: Todd Phillips
Oh how the mighty have fallen, this once promising comedy franchise was everyone's favorite back in 2009, but the lukewarm reception from the sequel had many questioning if the jokes had dried up during the first outing. This third installment, quite frankly, does not breathe new life into the characters (or Las Vegas) and I would actually mark this movie as more of a drama with some dark comedic elements to it than an outright comedy. There wasn't a whole lot to laugh about in this second sequel, especially after the opening moments where a giraffe gets decapitated.
I will admit I was wholly invested in the narrative - the film ties back to the first movie in that John Goodman plays Marshall, a mob boss who's out to get Chow because he took money from him during the first movie (in fact, Marshall's name does get mentioned in the first movie, we're just never privy to any of his story). Phil, Stu and Alan are the only connection to Chow that Marshall knows, so he holds Doug hostage (of course!) and orders them to get Chow or else. If you've watched the first movie, you'll dig the story. However, unlike the first film's retracing of events and finding awesome surprises (Mike Tyson! What happened to Stu's tooth?), we're treated to a ho-hum drama with little or no surprises and barely any laughs.
The biggest hangup? Part III loves Chow. So much, in fact, that he's in 90% of the movie. And it is awful. Chow is a fun character when he's just got a bit part to play. But here, he hijacks the whole movie and it gets annoying real quick. None of the jokes are that funny and there is way too many animal killings that are supposed to be funny, but are just downright cruel. I actually don't remember laughing all that much during this movie - it's just so gritty and real. I'd compare this to more dark comedies like In Bruges or Death at a Funeral, but less funny!
One bright spot was John Goodman - he absolutely kills it in this movie. His portrayal of Marshall is quite menacing, but there's a slight cartoonish behavior to his evilness that makes his scenes all the more entertaining. As for the rest of the cast, Galifianakis has his moments, but the schtick he had during the first two movies is more annoying now than I remember. (Kind of like Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory, I could write a very drawn out article on how awful his character has become during the run of that show). Cooper and Helms are okay - the problem is that the movie is more focused on everyone else that they're just as caught up in the drama as the audience, so their characters never really have any good moments. Oh and the gag after the credits? Completely dumb and unnecessary and it invalidates the whole ending of the movie and Alan's character resolution. It wasn't funny at all.
As unappealing as the comedy was, I still enjoyed seeing the movie find a resolution to Alan's wackiness and possible insanity. He's grown up a bit after the movie is finished and hopefully we'll never have to see these characters in Vegas again!
Rating: Not Worth Paying For!