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The Hangover Part III

Year: 2013
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Todd Phillips
Writer: Todd Phillips/Craig Mazin
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, John Goodman, Melissa McCarthy, Justin Bartha, Jeffrey Tambor, Mike Epps, Heather Graham

I was never the biggest fan of The Hangover, and it quite surprised me when it made so much money at the box office. It seemed to be just another Porkys inspired fratboys-run-wild movie, the kind of thing that flooded VHS in the 1980s.

Judging by the second one and now this film, it was lighting in a bottle that couldn't be recreated. Even though creative brains trust Craig Mazin and Todd Phillips defended The Hangover Part II having almost exactly the same plot against the (justified) criticism, somebody listened, giving The Hangover Part III the curious quality of not being about a hangover at all.

The premise means the backbone of the first two films is intact again, however. When tactless, flamboyant and weirdly homoerotic crime kingpin Chow (Ken Jeong) busts out of a Bangkok prison, a crime lord (John Goodman) who he's wronged hijacks the guys as they're taking Alan (Zach Galifianakis) to the desert to a treatment facility following a family intervention.

Taking the eternally luckless Doug (Justin Bartha) prisoner as ransom, he tells Stu (Ed Helms), Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Alan to find Chow and bring him in or Doug gets it. The gang crisscross from Tijuana to Vegas and back again on Chow's trail, trying to convince him they're on his side while they sell him up the river.

Melissa McCarthy plays a completely redundant love interest for Alan and there's a genuinely nasty tone that wouldn't be out of place in a violent thriller. What's missing – for a comedy – is anything funny beyond a few chuckles.

Plenty of people will tell you the original was a laugh riot and even as a non-fan I could see the appeal, but something about this film (maybe everything, from the pacing to the script to the delivery of the gags) falls flat.

It's also not like the previous instalments didn't include any violence, but there's something nasty and mean spirited here this time, in both the violence and the depiction of mental illness, making the character of Alan not so funny anymore. Hopefully it puts the final nail in the coffin of a franchise that wasn't that exciting to begin with.

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