With the recent release of “Hangover 3,” the filmmakers have reached the very epitome of producing a movie that is at once embarrassingly humorless, idiotically moronic, shamelessly tasteless, insultingly stupid, and totally useless.
The original film in this series hit the big screen in 2009, and it was the rarest of rarities – a comedy that was actually very funny. In fact it was one of the funniest films of that year. Then the sequel came along in 2011, and it wasn’t really in the same ballpark as its predecessor. But “Hangover Part III” isn’t in the same solar system as the original. In fact, along with “Scary Movie 5,” this unmitigated piece of trash deserves serious consideration as the year’s worst film to date.
This movie picks up the story of the Wolfpack – Phil Wenneck (Bradley Cooper), Doug Billings (Justin Bartha), Stu Price (Ed Helms), and black sheep Alan Garner (Zach Galifianakis) – two years after their misadventure in Bangok, where their buddy Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) had been thrown into jail. As the film begins, Chow breaks out of the prison ala Andy Dufresne in “The Shawshank Redemption.”
In the meantime Alan has quit taking his meds and has bought himself a giraffe that he’s towing along the interstate with a result that is both predictable and repulsive. When Alan arrives home, his father becomes so upset with his erratic behavior that he suffers a fatal heart attack. Following the funeral, Phil, Doug, and Stu manage to talk Alan into entering rehab in Arizona by agreeing that they all will drive him there.
Thus the Wolfpack members pile into Stu’s car and head for Arizona, but they never make it because they are intercepted by Marshall (John Goodman) and his security chief “Black Doug” (Mike Epps). Marshall explains that Chow has stolen $21 million in gold from him (half the gold Marshall pilfered from someone else), and he wants it back. He knows that Alan has spoken with Chow while he was in jail, and he figures the Wolfpack can find him and get his gold back. He gives the buddies three days to find Chow and recover his money, and he keeps Doug just to make sure they carry out their assignment.
And so one of the most boring manhunts in the history of cinema gets under way, and viewers are subjected to the agony of sitting through the Wolfpack’s final adventure. As I mentioned earlier, the first film in this series was fresh, original, and funny. This one, however, is dead in the water from the outset.
In the first place, I really have no use for films that exploit the deaths of animals. As soon as you see Alan driving down the highway with his giraffe in a trailer behind him, you know exactly what is coming, and although I’m sure someone somewhere may find it funny, I thought it both cruel and disgusting.
At this point I would like to share with you some of the film’s best lines, but there are none. Lest you think I am being unfair, however, here are two examples. Early in the film Alan says, “I bought a giraffe. My life is great.” And then during his father’s funeral he offers, “I can’t believe my daddy is dead. I can think of so many people I would rather have died first. Like my mother.” Now after you have recovered from your paroxysm of laughter, you may read on.
Writer/director Todd Phillips has said this is the final film in the series, and in the production notes he explained why he thinks people like the movies and what he was striving to achieve in the final chapter.
“From the beginning, I think these movies work because of the characters and the casting. If we had, say, three Alans, apart from that being impossible, it would be tapping the same vein. These actors are not only funny in their own right, but each one comes from such a different place, comedically, that it makes for an extraordinary chemistry.
“When you watch a movie, you usually identify with a certain character. I think a lot of people see things through Stu’s eyes, because he’s the one who seems most normal. Confident audience members see through Phil’s eyes and some people, if they’re completely unhinged, see things through Alan’s eyes, but ultimately it’s the group they’re responding to, and that’s a real testament to the actors. Beyond the comedy, beyond the plot, no matter where they wake up or whatever harebrained heist they have to accomplish to get out of trouble, I think people are just happy to get back together with these guys and go along for one last ride.”
Sorry, Todd, but you are sadly disillusioned about your film. In fact, you should have stopped with the first one because “Hangover Part III,” has absolutely nothing to redeem it. The dialogue is flat and humorless, the sight gags are lame and tasteless, and the storyline is dull and uninteresting. Therefore, it is my distinct pleasure to award this dud a big fat zero.
And as for the Wolpack, I’ll just say, “Good riddance forever!”