Third Time's Not a Charm
Sequels to comedies are almost never a good idea, which is probably why there’s been such a scarcity of them. Although action, horror and animated films lend themselves nicely to more installments, most comedies are better served by being one-and-done.
But when a movie makes almost $500 million worldwide, as The Hangover did in 2009, a sequel is inevitable. And when The Hangover Part II exceeded that mark despite near-universal derision for being a carbon copy of the original, completing the trilogy was a virtual lock.
So here we are with the Wolfpack in The Hangover Part III, in which Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) find themselves digging their way out of trouble yet again.
The film could be considered an action comedy, with gunplay, car chases and other action staples frequently coming into play.
The twist is that their woes don’t stem from some chemically induced stupor but from running afoul of a gangster (John Goodman) who’s trying to track down the nefarious Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), a man who’s haunted the foursome since their first trip to Vegas.
Consequently, we actually get to see the Wolfpack committing their misdeeds instead of reliving them via end-credit pictures. The film could be considered an action comedy, with gunplay, car chases and other action staples frequently coming into play.
Although the action pieces work for the most part, it does come at the expense of the comedy. Most of the jokes are only of the slightly amusing variety; nothing really gets the laughs rolling. Callbacks to the first two films abound, so if you’re not up to speed on them, you may find yourself scratching your head.
It speaks volumes that the funniest part of the film is yet again during the end credits, with the boys in one final compromising position. I won’t spoil it here, but suffice it to say that when one minute gets more genuine laughs than the previous 99, priorities are a bit out of whack.
Cooper, Helms and Galifianakis do their best to keep the film on the rails. Galifianakis has arguably been the star since the original, imbuing Alan with a unique wackiness. He’s not quite as successful this time around, but it’s not for a lack of trying.
Goodman doesn’t add much in one of the few new roles, playing a character that’s as one-note as they come. Jeong is the most committed actor of the bunch, willing to try anything for a laugh. And Melissa McCarthy makes a nice impression in an extended cameo.
For anyone yearning to see this particular group together again, The Hangover Part III is a serviceable option that’s an improvement on Part II and leaves you with a bang. I don’t suppose you could ask for much more than that.