After the nasty second instalment of the $1b franchise of The Hangover films, fans of the Wolfpack would be forgiven for feeling some trepidation before the release of The Hangover Part III. Gone is the ˜morning after the night before’ premise that underpinned all the events of the first two films and instead we are given what is effectively a coming-of-age tale for the 42-year-old stand out character of the films, Alan.
Following the sudden death of his father, Alan (Zach Galifiniakis) causes concern for his family who don’t think he’ll ever grow up. They stage an intervention and invite the other members of his ˜Wolfpack’ Stu (Ed Helms), Doug (Justin Bartha) and Phil (Bradley Cooper) who agree to take Alan to a psychiatric facility. However on the long road trip they are stopped by a criminal called Marshall (John Goodman) who takes Doug hostage and tells the others that he’ll kill him unless they find recently escaped coke-fuelled maniac Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong).
The first act, arguably the films weakest involves a lot of faith in the characters and ensuing narrative, but once poor old Doug is sidelined from the action, we’re back in familiar, but not the same territory. Exchanging the quick-fire jokes of the first film, director Todd Phillips introduces surprising levels of dramatic force behind the characters motives. It’s a testament to the chemistry of the cast that they are able to just about hold this crime caper with hints of comedy together in spite of the ridiculous situations.
The cameos from John Goodman and notably Melissa McCarthy are decent, and the latter provides the one true laugh of the film, sharing a scene with Alan. The main issue though is that for a comedy it simply isn’t funny enough to sustain momentum. While this wouldn’t be an issue had the drama been stronger, they out-there comedic characters sit at odds with the tension causing a distracting discomfort throughout. There are however individual moments of pure entertainment, and in the Caesar’s Palace section stands as a highlight in comedy, tense action and sentimentality.
Overall The Hangover Part III is a vast improvement over the Bangkok adventure, but never reaches the heights of the original. For fans of the franchise though there’s more than enough here to keep you entertained and Todd Phillips provides what is a suitable, if unspectacular coming-of-age finale to the Wolfpack trilogy.