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With: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, John Goodman, Melissa McCarthy, Jeffrey Tambor, Heather Graham, Mike Epps, Sasha Barrese, Jamie Chung, Sondra Currie, Gillian Vigman, Oliver Cooper
Written by: Todd Phillips, Craig Mazin
Directed by: Todd Phillips
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity
Running Time: 100
Date: 24/05/2013
IMDB

The Hangover Part III (2013)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Giant Headache

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I have yet to meet anyone who actually liked The Hangover Part II, which came out two summers ago, and yet it went on to make some $250 million in the U.S. alone. Now comes The Hangover Part III, which smacks even more of a cold, hard business arrangement rather than a movie anyone actually wanted to make. Added to that, whatever tiny bit of magic from the original that might have been leftover in Part II is now completely gone.

This general sense of joyless obligation shows on the faces of the characters, and in their general attitude toward each other. There's no more friendship or camaraderie. When they pick on each other, they do it with a kind of irritation and disgust. Even the appealing puzzle-box idea of the first two movies is gone. This time, there's no memory wipe. It's just a routine kidnapping and crime thriller with attempts at comedy. Perhaps worst of all, the character of Chow (Ken Jeong), who was mercifully kept as supporting comic relief in the first two movies, has now become a major character. This is roughly the equivalent of making "Mater" the main character of Cars 2. Rule of thumb: more of these annoying humorists does not make a movie funnier.

The plot this time involves the crime lord, Marshall (John Goodman), who was responsible for selling the initial drugs to Alan (Zach Galifianakis) all the way back in The Hangover (2009). Indirectly related to this, Chow managed to steal $21 million in gold bars from Marshall. Now, Marshall has decided to use the Wolf Pack to track down Chow, and he kidnaps Doug (Justin Bartha) to give them incentive. (Poor Bartha looks the most disgusted out of anyone here.)

At first, Chow manages to double-cross Alan, Phil (Bradley Cooper), and Stu (Ed Helms), and then they track him to Vegas, where he has begun partying with a new load of stolen gold. This requires a visit to Jade (Heather Graham), a character from the first movie, as well as several large chases and stunts. There's also a truly disturbing scene in which Alan meets the now four year-old child he carried around as a baby in the first film. And Melissa McCarthy turns up in a scene that gives Alan his first love interest, but her makeup and demeanor make these moments far more unsettling than either sweet or funny.

Nearly twenty years ago, director Todd Phillips made perhaps the strangest, most frightening of all punk rock movies, Hated: GG Allin & the Murder Junkies (1994), but whatever punk rock ethic he once had is now gone. The Hangover Part III is a cash-in and sellout of the highest order. Phillips dutifully drags things out, throwing in the big set pieces and "shocking" jokes (many of which we've seen before). But what he forgets is the genuine laughs and the connectedness that we once might have felt with the Wolf Pack, and which they obviously once felt for each other.

Now The Hangover series has begun to resemble an actual hangover: sick, sour, and ultimately unwanted.

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