It All Ends Tonight
“The Hangover” made a big splash at the box office a few years back, quickly becoming the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time. Obviously, a sequel was soon in the works. “Part II” followed the exact same formula as the first, right down to the last minute twist. It didn’t fare as well with critics, but set new records at the box office. This year, Todd Phillips brought us the epic conclusion to this raunchy series, and I have to say, it surprised me.
The film opens with Alan (Galifianakis) speeding down the freeway with his new pet, a fully grown giraffe. A bloody pile-up ensues after an encounter with a low-clearance bridge, and Alan’s friends decide it’s time to commit him. The “Wolfpack” (Cooper, Helms, and Bartha) agree to drive him to Arizona to the rehab facility, only to be intercepted by drug dealer Black Doug, and his boss Marshall (John Goodman). Marshall wants the boys to find Chow, their insane, criminal acquaintance from the previous films. Of course he takes Doug as insurance, leaving Alan, Stu, and Phil on their own again. $20 million is at stake, and Marshall wants it back. An epic manhunt ensues.
“I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky… I love cocaine!”
The film’s greatest asset is that it’s different. After two nearly identical films, “The Hangover Part III” breaks the pattern and tries to go in a new direction. It’s a bold move, and I think it pays off. There is no wild night. No blackout. No retracing of zany encounters. Just a crazy trip to try and find an unpredictable psychopath. Sounds funny, right?
I can say that the film is not nearly as laugh-out-loud as the first. The humour is actually a little more subtle (for the most part), and the writing is actually pretty clever and well-plotted. It’s considerably darker than the others as well. The one thing the movie excels at is making it feel like a truly epic conclusion. “The Hangover Saga” may sound stupid, but this film handles the grandiose atmosphere it wants very well. When the Wolfpack returns to Vegas (accompanied by Danzig’s “Mother”) you feel the intensity and the excitement.
“I’m killing Dougs today.”
The movie is very Alan-centric. Everything begins and ends with him and his friendship with Chow. Galifianakis is his usual outrageous self, and the provider of much of the film’s humour. His two comrades deliver standard performances. After three movies together, the chemistry is solid and they all seem comfortable together. John Goodman is expectedly awesome in his small role. There’s also a brief appearance from Melissa McCarthy, who seems to work off Galifianakis pretty well.
I found this film incredibly hard to rate. It’s not perfectly suitable for the categories you’d normally reserve for this series. You cannot go into “The Hangover Part III” expecting anything like the first two films. The film is a far cry from its source material, and actually better for it. The plot is darker, the humour is clever, and the payoff during the credits (while brief) is pretty damn awesome. You can’t take it too seriously, but you can absolutely enjoy the hell out of it. So sit down, have a drink, and follow the Wolfpack on their final adventure. It’ll make for a sick night.