May 23, 2013

Movie Review: The Hangover Part III

So, it's been four years since the first Hangover movie was released to theaters. I remember it quite well. The movie was hilarious and offered an alternative to the Judd Apatow productions that were dominating at the time. We were witness to the formation of the Wolfpack and the early stages of Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis' rise to prominence. The movie was great one and one I will likely always enjoy. The runaway hit assured us of one thing, sequels were to follow. 2011 saw Part II arrive and it was DOA. Now the third outing is upon us, did they learn their lesson from the second film?

The answer is a resounding, sort of. The second movie was like a dumbed down, cut and paste job. It was really bad. Third time's the charm, again, sort of. When compared to the first, this definitely pales, but when held up to the second, there really wasn't any place to go but up. The problem is that the balance of action/adventure and comedy that the first did so well is a little out of whack here.

The Hangover Part III drops the wedding party/hangover stuff, which is probably a good thing, unless you want to start feeling like a copy of a copy (and Multiplicity taught us what happens down that road). The problem is that now it feels a bit more like a road/caper movie with sprinkling of comedy, as if another Todd Phillips feature, Due Date, got mixed in for the ride.

I do not exactly mind this, but the movie is a lot subtler than previous outings. There are still some outrageous moments and funny one liners from Allan (Galifianakis), but overall the focus seems to be more on the endgame. This, in turn, helps soften somewhat the fact that none of the characters are particularly likable. They are a rather selfish bunch that act out of their own interests rather than anything terribly altruistic. I guess, if they were nice guys, the sarcastic wit would not play as well. I don't know, I just know I don't always find myself rooting for them.

As the movie starts, Allan's father has died and it has been deemed necessary to stage an intervention for Allan, who's been off his meds for a little while. So, the Wolfpack is able to convince him of his need for help and set off on the road. Little do they know but Chow (Ken Jeong) is back and has drawn the attention of a crime boss named Marshall (John Goodman). It seems that Chow stole a good deal of gold from Marshall and he wants back, seeing the Wolfpack as his best chance at finding Chow. To get the friends to play ball, he takes Doug (Justin Bartha) hostage.

Our main three head out on a journey that takes them down into Mexico before bringing them back full circle with a climax in Las Vegas. It is kind of funny, as different from the last film as this is, it still feels very familiar and in line with the other films. Still, I guess Wolfpack might have been a more accurate title considering the lack of hangovers here.

The Hangover Part III is an entertaining movie. Nowhere near the stature of the first but a definite step in the right direction. I was perfectly fine watching this, although I did question it at first. The opening chunk of the film, which brings our team back together, is a bit of a slog, it plays off what we ready know about the characters and is a necessary evil to to get the plot rolling, but it is not very good and threatened to sink my interest pretty early. I also hope that this truly is the last we see of these characters. I feel as if they have been taken as far as they can go. They are already bordering on parodies of themselves.

So, in conclusion, I was entertained. This is technically a fine movie, but when you get to the nitty gritty, the characters, three movies in, are wearing out their welcome. They are not really nice people, especially Phil (Bradley Cooper), and I feel I am done with them, content to let them go on living their own lives without intruding into mine with another unnecessary movie I would inevitably feel compelled to see. I was happy to know you guys, but the timer on your entertainment value has ticked down. Best of luck to you.

Mildly Recommended.

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