What I will never understand about these sequels to the very funny and enjoyable first Hangover film is that the creative team looked at the success of the first film and decided, “you know what made that work, the annoying Asian guy.” Now, Ken Jeong can be very funny and a burst of energy to any film he is in, but the character of Chow is a cartoon that is so absurd he seems out of place even in these films. So to make him more or less the co-lead for this third film just so that they can haphazardly connect all of three of these films seems like another giant misstep in the wrong direction.
The search to hunt down Chow and return the money he stole to a mobster that holds Doug hostage is all very overly elaborate and has to be aided by an immense amount of exposition to get there, why not try and do something a bit more natural. The second film was horrendous because it followed the exact same plot as the first, beat by beat, and it took the suspense and surprise out of the picture because we knew exactly what was going to happen next. This film at least dispenses with the blacked out/retrace your steps premise of the first two and becomes a far more straight forward mystery; sadly there isn’t a lot of comedy to go with it.
The film drags along as we move from scene to scene and while I was ecstatic that I didn’t know what beat was going to come next I was quickly disappointed that there was nothing really all that exciting happening in the film. The editing getting from scene to scene is sluggish enough, but when the next scene is neither funny nor terribly informative to the plot the viewer is left with very little to do other than watch Zach Galifianakis, hoping he does some funny face in the background. The script is just not there or very funny as the film feels way too small for a series as big and successful as this one. It only retreads the first films slightly, with an homage or two here and there, but the film takes itself way too seriously. Are their fans out there desperately waiting to see what happens to the Wolfpack next? None of these characters are anyone you should really care about and I am surprised that this film seems the least interested in dragging them through any sort of hell.
Like I said earlier, it doesn’t help that the cast is on autopilot as well with no one seeming overly interested in being here. Cooper, who I think is great, barely steals the Most Bored Crown form Helms, but this could probably be because the script seems entirely uninterested in them as well. Galifianakis is the star of this film, along with Jeong, and while I am all for him getting a spotlight the weak script doesn’t give him a lot to work with even though he is front and center. He gets a good laugh in there now and then and you always want to keep an eye on him, but nothing he does makes you laugh like the first film. Even Melissa McCarthy (who is getting terribly type cast) feels dulled by this script as she and Galifianakis can’t spark anything terribly memorable or funny in their scenes together. It literally feels like, “Hey look guys, Melissa McCarthy! She’s funny,” completely oblivious that they have to give her something to start with in the first place.
The Hangover III could have been better, a lot better, and even though it doesn’t simply retread the previous films’ paths it doesn’t blaze an interesting one for itself. Its cast doesn’t seem game, the script isn’t really there and the film doesn’t even try to be that funny. Phillips and his team don’t really seem to understand what works best and instead force feed us nonsense we don’t want. Their biggest failure though is making a dull comedy that isn’t that funny. At least it’s not the atrocity that Hangover II was.
The Hangover Part III is a D+