Some time has passed since the last time the Wolf Pack was all together, but the passing of Sid brings some realities to light. Needing to help Alan get a handle on his decision making and odd behavior, Stu, Phil and Doug agree to drive him out to a treatment center in Arizona. Along the way, a truck runs them off the road and the guys get kidnapped. Confronted by a gangster named Marshall, Doug is taken into custody and the trio is left to find and deliver Chow. Their adventure takes them to Tijuana and a Mexican villa before eventually landing them back in Las Vegas. While the mission is clear to save Doug, tracking and keeping a handle on Chow is even more difficult than they anticipated. While everyone but Chow is extremely lucid, it does not prevent the experience to be any less challenging.
Starring: Bradley Cooper (Phil), Ed Helms (Stu), Zach Galifianakis (Alan), Justin Bartha (Doug), Ken Jeong (Mr. Chow), John Goodman (Marshall), Melissa McCarthy (Cassie), Jeffrey Tambor (Sid), Heather Graham (Jade), Mike Epps (Black Doug), Sasha Barrese (Tracy), Jamie Chung (Lauren), Sondra Curry (Linda), Gillian Vigman (Stephanie)
The core group of actors returns, but yet again, Justin Bartha’s role remains minimal. Even Bradley Cooper feels like he is scaled back just a bit from the wildness of the first two films. Most of the attention is paid toward Galifianakis’s antics and Helms’s reactions to the events throughout the film. Jeong also takes more of a starring role, bringing his character’s arc to a level of intensity unmatched in the first two films. Starting to become a staple for comedy features like this, McCarthy’s brand of brutish humor fit well matched up with Galifianakis. Goodman’s role was relatively limited but fit well for the tone of the story.
Bringing the gang full circle, Todd Phillips wanted to finish the series in Las Vegas but left out the previous formula of blackout to reverse investigation. In this film, the trio found themselves kidnapped and under the gun to recover a crazed Chow in order to save Doug. Being lucid this time did not detract from the level of uncertainty they experienced on their wild goose chase. What seemed to be most off the typical pattern was the necessity of taking much more dramatic action to apprehend a criminal, where they resorted to more violent measures of drugging/injuring their target.
While the premise and the lack of the blackout with the main story are different, the brand of comedy is about the same. Alan was just as strange and inappropriate as ever and Stu continued to be the focus for a lack of control, requiring some sort of push to take greater leaps of faith. The first film’s biggest surprise happened to be the inclusion of the tiger and Mike Tyson, while the second film used a naked Chow and prostitutes to up the ante. This third installment actually waited until the credits to reveal the most entertaining and jaw-dropping scene, refusing to let the film actually have a sense of closure and leave people’s imagination open to interpret how the Wolf Pack’s story would continue. Although, there were a few scenes thrown into the mix that attempted to weave the shock value into the story (i.e. giraffe).
There are a number of entertaining moments mixed in with the original feel of the story, but the third film still fails to live up to the hype and success of the first installment. The Hangover Part III is still a solid film to end the series, but hopefully there will not be surprise push to extend this formula any further.
Dan’s Rating: 3.0/5