REVIEW: The Hangover Part III

17 06 2013

Two summers ago, I expressed my frustration with the inertia of the “Hangover” franchise in my review for the carbon-copy sequel.  I wrote, “‘The Hangover Part II‘ is like breathing in airplane air.  Recycled, stale, but better than not having air to breathe at all.  In essence, it gives you exactly what you expected – and nothing more.”  Had I known yet another follow-up was in the pipelines, I would have begged the question, “Is it too much to ask for something different?”

In which case, I would never have been so unhappy to have a movie give me exactly what I asked of it.  “The Hangover Part III” is definitely not the same as its predecessors.  But lest we forget, change is not always good.  In this case, it’s just kind of depressing to see how fast and hard a comedic sensation can fall.  The series’ legacy will now likely be one of a studio that took a truly original concept, hackneyed it to the point of annoyance, and then besmirched its name entirely.

In fact, it’s hard to call “The Hangover Part III” much a comedy at all.  Sure, there’s the occasional clever quip, but the writers’ new plot structure forays the series into a new genre entirely.  It’s essentially a chase film, an action-thriller that squeezes out a laugh every once in a while.

The so-called “comedy” of this installment is lazy and, quite frankly, offensive.  The nuance of the original “Hangover” is long gone, replaced here by cheap gags that are above the most immature of middle schoolers.  All “The Hangover Part III” has to offer is homophobic humor, offering up gays as objects to be ridiculed.


What was once a clever subtext that Zach Galifianakis’ Alan had a bit of a man-crush on Bradley Cooper’s Phil has now become overt sexual attraction.  As Phil prepares to hammer a wall, Alan suggests that he take his shirt off to … help.  The film’s logic seems to be, “Oh, he’s a little chemically imbalanced, so it would totally make sense if he were also gay!”  It’s a sad reminder of the bastions of hatred still to be overcome as this country moves towards equality and respect for all in our society.

The film’s villains also wield a femininity that director Todd Phillips seems to regard as dangerous.  John Goodman’s treacherous Marshall (ugh, thanks for that name) wears lipstick and what appear to be ladies’ sunglasses.  And of course, Ken Jeong’s Leslie Chow is a reminder that a bit character should sometimes be left in that role.  The more the series chose to feature Chow, the more gratingly monotonous he became.  Here, he’s a twisted little man all too eager to offer to perform oral sex on any member of the Wolfpack to get himself out of a bind.

Four years ago, I couldn’t get enough of “The Hangover.”  Now, I’m all to quick to wish it good riddance, and that’s sad to me.  Thankfully, Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms have used it to catapult their careers into an Oscar nomination for “Silver Linings Playbook” and a promotion on “The Office,” respectively.  But it looks like Zach Galifianakis, the captain and engineer of the “Hangover,” may go down with his ship.  C1halfstars



One response

18 06 2013

Totally agree with you here, Marshall. This movie doesn’t even try to be anything like the first or second. Instead, it just goes for a straight-forward thriller that neither made me thrilled or entertained. Just bored completely out of my mind.

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