Craig's First Take: "The Hangover Part 3"

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The third and final installment in The Hangover franchise, this 2013 comedy flick is directed by--who else--Todd Phillips, the man at the helm of the first two Hangover movies. Following a disaster-filled trip to Thailand, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zack Galifianakis) & Doug (Justin Bartha) are back in the states and caught up in another set of misadventures. Also reprising their roles from The Hangover Part II (2011): Ken Jeong, Heather Graham & Jamie Chung.
1.5

A “Hangover” film without a hangover is kinda like an “Iron Man” film without Tony Stark being “Iron Man“, which would never happen because errr…it’s been a disappointing summer so far. Todd Phillips has said “The Hangover 3” will be the last in the “Hangover” series, which has gone two movies too long, the last of which looks like a just-for-the-hell-of-it fling that probably got everyone involved some pretty nice paychecks. Where the first film took a nice premise and gave you some surprises and a nice R-rated gross out feel, these other movies have only served to diminish what came before.

Nothing about “Hangover 3” feels like a “Hangover” movie, the first and most evident reason is that these guys do not get hungover this time until the disturbing but still much funnier than anything else in this movie ending credit sequence. Instead it becomes something of a caper as Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Alan (Zack Galifianakis) are caught up in trying to find Chow (Ken Jeong) and the Abu Dhabi gold bars he stole and return both to a vicious drug dealer named Marshall (John Goodman) or else Alan’s brother-in-law (Justin Bartha) will be killed.

This is also sorta Alan’s story. I liked him as the innocent goofball in the first two movies but here he takes a swan dive into being a complete jerk and he didn’t even have to get bombed off Yeager in order to do so. We first see him driving with a giraffe in tow, leading to a sight gag that anyone could see coming (why doesn’t Alan?) and it’s more cruel than funny. This starts a downward spiral for Alan, who comes off as rude to people for no reason, acts like a spoiled, entitled rich child, and is generally very irritating. Galifianakis has excelled at good-natured rubes but he’s saddled with trying to make an asshole both funny and likable. Not only that but Phillips gives him nothing to work with, leaving him to stretch for a laugh by fake-crying, high pitch-singing, wetting his pants, and trying to make something out of moronic comments that most of the time just seem moronic rather than funny-moronic.

The other two guys are left to be the straight-men to Alan’s stupidity. Helms either looks nauseated or shocked while Cooper is given nothing funny to do and by now looks like he knows he’s too pretty and respected an actor to have to put too much effort into something like this. As we’re taken through the streets of Mexico and into Las Vegas, you can tell the zany energy is gone. The guys are forced to make weak attempts at homophobic gags while Ken Jeong works extremely too hard at being an exaggerated Asian stereotype (particularly grating, and particularly lacking in the freshness he brought to the first film). I’ll admit there is a weird but sorta funny cameo appearance by Mellisa McCarthy that does work though.

I never thought I’d say this but it’s the few action set pieces that work the best, like a scene where the guys have to lower themselves down from the roof of Caesar’s Palace. It’s a bit of a thrill. The rest of the movie is not. This summer has not gotten off to a spectacular start but even so, I doubt I’ll see a movie this summer that puts in less effort than “Hangover Part 3.”