Don’t you find humour is such an over-rated quality in comedy? Thank God then for Todd Phillips who’s managed to free us from the tyranny of laughter, nailing the coffin lid down on his Hangover trilogy with the anti-comedy The Hangover Part 3, a film able to boast fewer chuckles than Claude Lanzmann’s side-splitting Shoah.
After coming off his meds (anti-psychotics surely?), accidentally decapitating a giraffe (funniest moment of the film but in all the trailers) and indirectly causing the death of his beloved father (Jeffrey Tambor), it’s clear something has to be done about drunken, sociopathic manchild Alan (Zach Galifianakis) so it’s up to the other members of the Wolfpack – Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (you know, the other one, Justin Bartha) – to stage an intervention and drive him to a rehab facility in Arizona.
But once on the road, they’re waylaid by crime lord Marshall (John Goodman) who kidnaps the hapless Doug (with the cancellation of The New Normal how much worse can things get for Bartha?), threatening to kill him if the gang can’t deliver teeth-grindingly annoying, camp Asian gangster Mr Chow (Ken Jeong) who once rather unsportingly stole $21 million in gold from Marshall.
Having escaped the Thai prison he ended up in at the end of the last film, Chow’s on the run and, as Alan is his only friend, Marshall figures if anyone can find him it’s the Wolfpack. With just 3 days to find Chow, steal back the gold and save Doug, their quest will take them from Mexico back to Las Vegas where it all began…
Crass, crude, lazy, racist, misogynistic, homophobic and unforgivably unfunny, the Wolfpack are back! And, just like a real hangover, The Hangover Part 3 kills your brain cells and leaves you feeling soiled. Just to be clear, we’re not talking the good kind of hangover where you wake up with the taste of strawberries on your tongue, in a four-poster bed, next to a pneumatic Louisiana blonde with cornflower-blue eyes and a neck like spilt milk. We’re talking about the kind of hangover where you wake up in a hedge, soaked in vomit and wee (not all of it your own), with blood on your hands, a mouth that tastes like the floor of a taxi and the vague sense that something baaaaaaaaaaad happened, something that was all your fault. And you’d be right. It is all your fault.
You…we all liked The Hangover. The first film was fun; an obnoxious slice of Frat Pack, gross-out douchebaggery that followed the misadventures of its drug-addled heroes as they desperately tried to piece together how exactly they lost the groom on his stag night, in the process striking comedy gold and becoming the most successful R-rated comedy ever made. If it ain’t broke why bother even trying to fix it so the second film was more of the same only bigger, louder, cruder and less funny, its cultural high point being the not entirely consensual bumming of one of the gang by a Thai ladyboy. But it still elicited a guilty giggle or two. After all, a smoking monkey and implied male rape are always funny. Aren’t they? Which brings us to the trilogy’s epic conclusion and the rule of three: the third part of any trilogy sucks! Just as the third Godfather couldn’t hold an altar candle to the original and Return of the Jedi wasn’t a patch on Star Wars, The Hangover Part 3 effectively kills off the series by destroying your fond memories of the first film. Which does not bode well for the hugely anticipated The Human Centipede 3.
While the first film felt fresh and original, this third installment feels tired and cynical. Junking the amnesia formula which served so well in favour of a B-grade action movie plot, The Hangover Part 3 re-unites the old gang, with the notable exception of closet Phil Collins fan Mike Tyson (and who’d have thunk we’d miss the subtlety and comic timing of that lisping celebrity rapist?), but no-one’s doing this one for the love. Todd Phillips obviously has an infinity pool to pay for and compromising photos of Bradley Cooper who looks less like an Oscar-winning actor here than a hostage.
With his lizardy charm, Cooper could play douchebag, pussy-hound Phil in his sleep and proceeds to do just that, occasionally waking up long enough to make an exasperated WTF? face at whatever Galifianakis is doing while Helms’ uptight Stu is so marginalised the sole reason he’s in the film is to act as a plot device, enabling the Wolfpack to get their mitts on some (legal) drugs. Which leaves all the more room for Galifianakis to shamble around, flogging his psychotic manchild schtick to death while Jeong’s shrill, offensive Chow screeches, is vaguely sexually threatening and, of course, gets his Wee Willie Winkie out again coz tiny penis jokes are always funny. Aren’t they?
Heather Graham’s happy hooker turns up as a now pregnant hausfrau for no real discernible reason other than to re-unite Galifianakis’ creepy Alan with the now 4-year-old baby from the first film in a scene that’s obviously meant to be heartwarming but feels just a little, well, Operation Yewtree, the film having gone out of its way in one scene to explicitly state that Alan is a sex offender, giggling “Public masturbation on a bus…” while reading aloud his own lengthy criminal record, making you want to scream at the screen: “No! Don’t go in the tent with him!” Which is probably the reason for the inclusion of Bridesmaids’ Melissa McCarthy who continues to milk her 15 minutes, appearing here as a conventional heterosexual love interest for Alan because, you know, he can’t be a kiddie fiddler if he’s with that chunky gal from Mike & Molly. In fact, The Hangover Part 3 could be seen as a companion piece for Cooper’s Silver Linings Playbook, both films featuring damaged, mentally ill manchildren being saved by the love of similarly damaged women. Screw psychiatric treatment, all you need is love!
A moronic waste of 100 minutes of your life, The Hangover Part 3 even manages to make spending $21 million dollars on hookers and blow look boring. Pray this was the last one.