t h e h a n g o v e r p a r t III
24th May 2013
24th May 2013
Like millions of other people I enjoyed The Hangover. Great characters played by new and exciting actors, genuinely laugh out loud funny and Mike Tyson singing Phil Collins. No wonder it became the cult classic it is and grossed $462 million worldwide. The Hangover II came hot on the heels of the first one, took even more money at $581 million but got universally awful reviews. One reviewer bemoaned the fact that it seemed like Todd Phillips had just replaced the words Las Vegas with Bangkok and used the same script. I must admit I didn't see the second instalment and judging by the reviews I'm glad I didn't. So here we are at The Hangover Part III. The end. Not the end of the review that would be really lazy – the end of the trilogy and it's a darker less obviously comical ride from Todd Phillips.
As we begin, The Wolf Pack is reunited although this time the reasons are considerably less lighthearted – help is needed for perpetual idiot-wanna be-savant Alan (Zach Galifianakis) whose latest antics have led to the death of a wild animal and, more or less, his own father. The family step in, in a hilarious intervention scene, and off to a facility in Arizona he must go but of course the only way he will go is if his 'buddies' accompany him. So off they go on yet another road trip in Stu's (Bradley Cooper) mini van. Surprisingly things don't go to plan and the gang are pushed off the road and attacked by a gang of pig mask wearing thugs. Turns out the illustrious Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) has stolen from the wrong guy, namely Marshall (John Goodman) and now, as they introduced 'the disease into his life' he wants them to get his money back and he takes Doug (who else!) as hostage. Chow has broken out of prison in a Shawshank redemption fashion and it turns out Alan has been keeping in touch with him all the time. The two arrange to meet in a colourful but seedy Tijuana where the truth comes out and Chow manipulates the boys into deeper waters than they were in before and the race is on to get the money, Chow and Doug all back in their rightful place.
My sense of humour is dark and a little odd so this film suited it down to the ground. I don't mean the trailer moment gags but the more subtle moments and in particular the Alan moments. One of my favourite scenes in the film played brilliantly by Cooper and Galianfikis is a scene where the two of them are outside Chow's house waiting for Chow and Stu to let them in and Alan starts asking Phil about where he got his shirt. This small scene that other people may not even have remembered but just had me in stitches. It's awkwardness and weirdness is just beautifully played. Some of that stuff was magic and I for one would love to see Todd Phillips to direct a Punch Drunk Love type of movie. Maybe I did have too many beers at the press screening. Anyway that's my opinion and I'm sticking by it.
This, more than the other two parts, is very much Alan's film and perhaps that's why, tonally it is the darkest. The character of Alan, so brilliantly embodied by Galifianakis has always been on the edges of comedy, playing with what is acceptable to laugh at. Alan is part man, part spoilt child with unexplained mental issues and is desperately in love with his wolf pack chums who he longs to be a part of. Stu and Phil are mere supporting roles here and Doug is mostly unseen. John Goodman is truly excellent as Marshall (costume designer Louise Mingenbach again has done a great job here in particular Marshall's outfits are spot on and inspired, particularly what looks very much like a Missoni scarf). Ken Cheong has lots more to do and plays up the bi-sexual, coke head Chow making him much more maniacal and close to the edge than we have seen in previous incarnations. I think probably if you are not a fan of the character of Chow then this part of the trilogy will not fill you with joy. Heather Graham is back reprising her role as the hooker with a heart of gold in a somewhat pointless plot point. The boys go to visit her where they discover she is living a nice suburban life with her little boy who is now a toddler. Grant Holmquist, the child playing the part is actually one of the babies from the first movie which is a nice touch and there is a fun scene between him and Galifianakis. Melissa McCarthy has the best scenes in the movie where I would say she steals the scene as she is wonderful fun but the truth is her and Galifianakis are so deliciously fun together and the usual post credit sequence got the biggest laughs of the whole film - so do stay put at the end.
The Hangover Part III more than exceeded my very low expectations. It's a well played, tonally interesting funny summer movie. Clear your mind of prejudice, try not to expect something like, say Coriolanus, and you'll have a jolly good time. I am virtually alone in the critic world by saying it feels this trip has ended on a high note. I probably did have too may beers at the press screening.....
Check out The Hangover Part III trailer here.