Director: Todd Phillips
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, John Goodman, Justin Bartha
After the huge success of the first Hangover film in 2009, followed by the mild success the sequel brought, I was definitely anticipating the supposedly “epic” conclusion of the trilogy. With a promise that this one would be different from the first two but still packed with laughs, I was very excited to see this one. Maybe all of the hype that I heard from friends about how hilarious it was made my expectations too high, but I couldn’t help but walk away from this one feeling that the conclusion did not do the first two justice at all.
Yes, the plot of this one is different from the first two in that it isn’t based off of the wolfpack crazily partying and then trying to remember what they did last night, but the concept is pretty much the same. This time, the wolfpack has to overcome a variety of obstacles in order to get one of their friends back, which is still the same basic premise of the first two. While driving Alan (Galifianakis) to seek help from a rehabilitation clinic in Arizona, the crew’s van is ran off the road by Marshall (Goodman), who claims that Leslie Chow (Jeong) stole millions of dollars from him. Marshall then orders Phil (Cooper), Stu (Helms), and Alan to find Chow and bring him and his gold back to him. In order to assure that they do this, Marshall takes Doug (Bartha) hostage. Phil, Stu, and Alan then go through a variety of events in capturing Chow, including going from Tijuana to the place that it all started, Vegas.
I think the worst thing about this movie was that I found myself searching for the laughs here. I so desperately wanted to like this movie that I was trying to find things funny that honestly just were not. Such as the giraffe beheading and the smothering of a rooster with a pillow. These scenes just showed how desperate the writers had gotten in order to uphold the expectations they set with the previous two films. In the end though, animal cruelty isn’t funny….it’s just creepy. Many people criticized the second film for being pretty much exactly like the first one, and although this is most definitely true, the laughs were still there and therefore it was still enjoyable to watch. I was excited at the prospect of this film being different from the first two, and although it was, it took away from the humor that makes the movies so memorable to begin with.
Sadly, this “epic” finale was not really epic at all. It really just came off as…tired. Even the actors seem tired of their characters. Cooper and Helms kind of just seem like they are going through the motions. I also think it was a mistake to make the movie focus so much on Alan and Chow. These are the two most unlikable characters of the movie so sitting through two hours of the Alan and Chow show was pretty unpleasant for me. Galifianakis’ character is one that is good in small doses, or where there is an equal balance between his character and the others, but too much of him is just too overbearing and frankly, annoying. Same goes for Chow. His character has quickly gone from a pretty funny side character to a ridiculous and actually kind of racist caricature.
I feel kind of bad bashing on this move though because it wasn’t an entire waste of time. There were indeed a couple funny parts but most of them were parts that I had already seen a billion times in the trailer. The nods to the previous two films are also pretty funny so if you have seen those and really enjoyed them then they might get a few chuckles out of you. There is also a scene during the credits that you might appreciate as the writers seemed to cram in last minute that humor that we all loved from the first and second films.
Overall, this movie was kind of a disappointment. I listed this film as one of the films I was most looking forward to this summer, and sadly it did not live up to my expectations. I think they could have wrapped up the trilogy in a better way but their attempt to make this one unique from the other ones took away from the humorous shenanigans that we loved from the first movie. This movie would better be labeled as an action/heist film rather than an outrageous comedy. The shock factor that made us laugh out loud and love the first two just simply wasn’t there for this one, and when it was it came off as just weird and awkward. There are a few laughs and just the overall appeal of revisiting the wolfpack that kept me from feeling truly gypped, but this film just goes to prove the belief that no sequel can outdo the original.