Review: The Hangover Part III

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

PLOT: Two years after their wild night in Bangkok, the Wolfpack is back. Alan (Zach Galifianakis) has been off his meds for six months and is running wild. After an intervention, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) manage to convince him to go the rehab, but on the way to the clinic they’re attacked by a mobster named Marshall (John Goodman) who kidnaps Doug and threatens to kill him unless the guys can find the elusive Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), who’s just broken out of prison.

REVIEW: THE HANGOVER series seems like a textbook example of why some films just don’t need sequels. Sure, the first one was great, and to be fair, even the first sequel wasn’t that bad. It was stale, and had a ridiculously recycled premise, but at least it was funny. THE HANGOVER PART 3 is many things, but funny is not one of them.

In some ways, this latest film seems like an honest effort by director Todd Phillips to finally put a definitive end to a series that’s been the victim of it’s own success. Too bad this definitive end means making a movie that’s so bad absolutely no one will have any desire to see a Part 4. I’ll give Phillips credit in that he, along with co-screenwriter Craig Mazin, made a somewhat brave choice by not actually including any kind of hangover this time out. PART 3 is just as different as Phillips has claimed, but it’s too bad that the biggest difference seems to be that unlike the other two, this isn’t funny.

Heck, I don’t even know if I’d call this a comedy. There are precious few laughs, most of which are earned in throwaway bits by Galifianakis and – in one admittedly funny scene – a cameoing Melissa McCarthy. Otherwise, THE HANGOVER PART 3 is, believe it or not, a pretty dull crime/heist movie. Most of the running time is eaten up by a lengthy caper involving Chow and a mansion in Tijuana, while the film comes to an inevitable conclusion in Vegas, which at least allows us a brief reunion with Heather Graham‘s stripper with a heart of gold- Jade, and her now four-year-old son, Tyler (or rather Carlos), played by the baby from the first film, Grant Holmquist.

Probably the most puzzling thing about THE HANGOVER PART 3 is how Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper, who are now much bigger stars than they were in the first film, have almost nothing to do. Helms does his usual nervous schtick (he’s not the newly minted badass the end of 2 seemed to suggest), while Cooper basically does nothing, and plays it almost entirely straight. The focus is squarely on Galifianakis, and Ken Jeong. I like Jeong, but in these movies a little of him goes a long way, but he’s front and centre throughout, and is often more annoying than funny. John Goodman classes things up a bit as Marshall, but he has even less to do here than Paul Giamatti in PART 2.

And, while the first two films pushed boundaries in terms of taste and outrageousness, this outing is ultra-tame, with only the giraffe decapitation from the trailers pushing any buttons. The only really good thing about HANGOVER 3 is that Phillips still has a strong sense of style, with the lensing by DP Lawrence Sher being particularly sharp, and the soundtrack selections being well-chosen as usual. I think if Phillips ever decided to stretch beyond comedy, he’d probably surprise a lot of people, and the guy’s got style to burn, which is obvious even when the movie’s at it’s worst.

It’s too bad that THE HANGOVER series is coming to such an anti-climatic end, but this is a series that has just completely petered out and needs to stop. This isn’t a particularly awful film, but it’s a very boring one and a waste of a whole lot of talent. Even compared to HANGOVER PART 2, this is a major disappointment.

The Hangover Part III



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About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.