This third installment in what was the hands-down funniest R-rated comedy franchise ever breaks from its traditional structure of waking up with a bad hangover and piecing together the events from the night before. Instead, it presents a moderately clever crime comedy with guns, car crashes, and just a tiny bit of Melissa McCarthy. What gives?
2.5 Stars: Perfect for “Wolf Pack” loyalists
The Hangover Part 3 opens in a Bangkok prison where Mr. Chow has been rotting since The Hangover Part 2. Crazy like a fox, Mr. Chow manages to escape the prison giving no indication of just where he might end up.
Meanwhile, the “Wolf Pack” has reunited, only this time, instead of overindulging at one of their bachelor parties, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Doug (Justin Bartha) participate in an intervention for Alan (Zack Galifianakis), who’s off his meds and engaging in destructive behavior, like purchasing a giraffe. Alan agrees to go to rehab in Arizona, if the Wolfpack will drive him there.
On the road however, trouble brews when men in pig masks run Phil’s minivan off the road and take Doug hostage. These men work for a gangster named Marshall (John Goodman), who’s desperate to find Mr. Chow and the money Chow stole from him. Turns out, Alan has been corresponding via email with Chow and gets a tip that he’s in Tijuana, Mexico.
With Doug’s life on the line, Phil, Stu and Alan catch up with Mr. Chow in a Mexican karaoke house and try to persuade him to make a deal with Marshall. When the deal goes horribly awry, the gang ends up back in Vegas, asking Jade (Heather Graham) for help. It’s also back in Vegas where Alan meets pawn shop owner Cassie (Melissa McCarthy), with whom he has a deep connection.
The short scenes with McCarthy are the funniest, as she brings her awkward sexuality to the table, making a funny-feast out of Galifianakis.
While this movie is funny, it’s darker than the other two with the decimation of more than a few animals. Why the filmmakers didn’t stick to the formula of the two previous Hangovers is baffling to me. Perhaps, they wanted to give the audience something fresh, but if you’re going to pay to see The Hangover Part 3, I suspect you — like me — are hoping it’s going to deliver on the premise that worked two times before.
The scene at the very end of film (after the credits, even), finally captures the wacky hedonism the franchise made famous and includes an actual hangover, Melissa McCarthy as the bride and Mr. Chow in some full frontal nudity (yikes!).
This last scene also brilliantly sets up The Hangover Part 4, but I walked out of the theater sulking because that’s the movie I wished I had seen. Both Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper have made it clear in the press that they won’t sign on for another installment, disappointing me even more.
Bottom line: This movie is funny, but much darker than the other two — I only wished it included a wedding, a bachelor party, and a hangover.
Run time is 1 hour, 40 minutes. The last and best scene begins after the credits start to roll. Be sure to stay in your seat so you don’t miss it!
Photo credit: Warner Bros.