Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘The Hangover Part III’ Review: The Wolfpack Returns For Its Final Act

Note: Stay after the initial end credits for one of the best scenes in the franchise.

The Hangover Part III is a step up from the sequel, has a few good laughs, but nothing can touch the first film of the Wolfpack franchise. Although I enjoyed much of Part III, the sequels should have never been made, as nothing can live up to the first film that is a masterpiece.

The first Hangover debuted in 2009 and is one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen. The cinematography is beautiful, the screenplay witty and the actors create a group so memorable and fun that Danny Ocean’s boys would be jealous. As much as I wish the first film were left alone, Part III makes for a fine conclusion to the wild series and wraps everything up nicely for the fans.

Part III picks up where Part II left off (in Thailand); Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) makes a prison break in quite a hysterical opening scene, eventually making his way to Tijuana. Meanwhile back in Los Angeles, in the aftermath of Alan’s (Zach Galifianakis) father’s death, his family and friends decide to stage an intervention. After all, he is 42 years old and still living in his parents’ house.

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Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan’s brother-in-law Doug (Justin Bartha) agree to take Alan to a hospital to get treatment for his issues. While the guys are driving to the hospital, they get run over by a gang, led by bad guy Marshall (John Goodman). Marshall is looking for Chow and believes that the “Woldpack” can find him, since Alan has remained in contact with him via email. Marshall and his boys kidnap Doug and threaten to kill him if they don’t find Chow.

There are a lot of funny scenes in Hangover III, but there are also a lot of dark and disturbing ones, particularly the scenes with animal violence (which is just completely unnecessary). The screenplay, written by the director Todd Phillips and Craig Mazin, has some pretty wild scenes including ones surrounding a giraffe, a chicken and a pair of dogs. These scenes are supposed to come off as funny, but they come off as cruel and unneeded, which ends up hurting the film. What happened to the light and cheery scenes that made the first one comedic genius?

The references to the first film are quite enjoyable. I particularly liked the scene where we see the lovely escort Jade (Heather Graham) and her son Tyler, who is now 4 years old. It’s the same baby, by the way, and he is adorable. I can’t be the only one that wanted Stu to end up with Jade, right? Alan and Tyler have a lovely (and weird) moment in the living room that is too precious. It’s a perfect “awe” moment. There are also some cameos of characters from the first film that won’t be given away in this review, but keep on the lookout for them!

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The scene after the credits is hysterical! It’s a wonder why the screenwriters didn’t write that plot point into the story mid-way through and finish the film from that point on. It probably would’ve been a much funnier and less dark close to the trilogy.

If you’re a fan of the first one, or for some reason a fan of the sequel, go see Part III at a matinee. The references to the first film and Bradley Cooper’s blue eyes alone are worth the price of admission. Todd Phillips gives us a fine close to the story, but it really could’ve been so much more memorable.

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