movie film review | chris tookey
 
     
     
 

Hangover Part III

 (15)
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  Hangover Part III Review
Tookey's Rating
1 /10
 
Average Rating
2.18 /10
 
Starring
Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis
Full Cast >
 

Directed by: Todd Phillips
Written by: Todd Phillips and Craig Mazin Based on characters created by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore

 
 
 
Released: 2013
   
Genre: BLACK COMEDY
SERIES
SEQUEL
THRILLER
COMEDY
   
Origin: US
   
Colour: C
   
Length: 100
 
 


 
How to murder a franchise.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Director and co-screenwriter Todd Phillips, whose masterpieces include Road Trip and Due Date, has promised that The Hangover Part III will be the last of the series. Please, please let it be so.

The first one – a cleverly structured screwball comedy turning into nightmare - was funny. Numbers two and three could have been, but weren’t. Quite apart from the lack of humorous ideas, the plotting of both films has been witlessly arbitrary, thrown together with utter contempt for the audience.

The Hangover Part II was essentially a grosser, mean-spirited version of the first. The Hangover Part III is even more bafflingly unfunny. It’s a thriller with elements of attempted comedy, rather than a comedy. It seems to have been assembled by frenzied Martians unacquainted with the earthling notion called humour.

The story concerns the three relatively sane members of “the wolfpack”, Phil, Stu and Doug (played by Bradley Cooper, pictured left, Ed Helms, right, and Justin Bartha) taking their fat, hairy acquaintance Alan (Zach Galifianiakis, pictured centre) to a psychiatric institution. Not before time, if you ask me.

On their way, they are ambushed by criminals led by a crime lord named Marshall (John Goodman). He orders them to track down their old adversary Mr Chow (Ken Jeong) who has stolen $25 million of gold bullion from Marshall and just escaped from a Bangkok prison, using a tactic borrowed from The Shawshank Redemption, which suggests that the Thai prison authorities can’t have watched many decent movies.

As Alan and Chow have been in email contact, Marshall believes the wolfpack can track Chow down. In case they don’t care to, Marshall takes the perennially hapless Doug as hostage. From there, the dispiriting mayhem moves to Tijuana, rural Mexico and finally to Las Vegas.

Comedy is notoriously subjective, and some people may find The Hangover Part III an awful lot funnier than I do. However, the film-makers reveal several assumptions about comedy that many will find questionable, and I am one of that unappreciative crowd. So let’s examine them in turn.

The guys who make this movie think cruelty to animals is funny, and killing them is funnier. So, in the opening moments, the drink-driving Alan decapitates a giraffe, which results in a motorway pile-up. Later, Stu murders a couple of dogs. And Mr Chow smothers a chicken until it is dead.

So supporters of the RSPCA may want to give this one a miss.

Mind you, cruelty to humans is supposed to be a barrel of laughs too. We are not told of any fatalities resulting from the traffic accident. But the father of one of the characters dies of a stroke, caused by the imbecility of his son. The aforementioned offspring then uses his funeral oration to insult his grieving mother.

This is meant, I guess, to be the comedy of embarrassment. But to most people, it will just be embarrassingly unfunny.

On the alternative planet where this movie is set, sexual deviance is also a hoot. One of the characters confesses to whipping out his private parts and pleasuring himself on public transport, for which he has a criminal record. The film-makers think this is hilarious. Maybe they’re rolling in the aisles somewhere in Middle America, but at the screening I attended, not one person laughed.

Similarly, the film-makers think it uproarious when two of the male characters make lewd advances to the character played by Bradley Cooper. No one laughed at that either.

Racism is apparently quite a rib-tickler too. One character makes an anti-semitic joke, and that’s funny because the guy making the joke is Chinese. But again, no one laughs.

Over and over, scenes occur which look comedic yet aren’t. The beautiful prostitute from the first film, played by Heather Graham, turns up again; but this time, bafflingly, she isn’t allowed to say or do anything remotely amusing.

Some people may find some a belly laugh or two in the scene where Alan meets the love of his life, the repellent owner of a pawnshop (played, with grisly inevitability, by Melissa McCarthy, the foul-mouthed, obese woman from Bridesmaids). She, like Alan, makes fun of her elderly, disabled mother, so that’s one bond between them.

Then Alan and she do some suggestive oral sex simulation with lollipops, whereupon one of the characters looks as if he’s going to vomit. Some people may laugh themselves silly at the idea of cruel, nasty, overweight people mating. A more civilised response would be to fear for these characters’ unborn children.

Puzzlingly, much of the third film revolves around the least funny character, played by the series’ most annoying actor. Ken Jeong is one of those laughter-freezing comics who believe that shouting, stripping naked and uttering obscene insults is the surefire way to endear oneself to a modern audience.

We know from Silver Linings Playbook that Bradley Cooper can be an interesting and attractive leading man. Not here, he isn’t. His main role here is to glare balefully at the other characters and mutter “what the f--- are we watching?” and “who gives a f---?”

These are good questions, and ones to which I suspect the film-makers would find it hard to give a convincing answer.


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