Here are my reviews of the first two movies, as a starter.
The Hangover Part III defies the odds, it really does. I’m sure that most people thought it wouldn’t be hard to improve upon the second movie, but the fact that this comes together so well to tie up the whole trilogy in a fan-pleasing way that also remains consistently very funny is a very pleasant surprise.
After the death of Alan’s father, the wolfpack (Alan, Phil, Stu and Doug) head off on one more adventure as Alan is taken somewhere that can hopefully help him deal with his obvious issues. Unfortunately, they don’t get too far before they’re stopped by Marshall (John Goodman). Marshall takes Doug as a hostage and explains that the rest of the guys have to find the troublesome Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong). Mr. Chow has a lot of gold that belongs to Marshall, and if the guys get it back then they can save Doug. As everyone knows, however, wherever Mr. Chow goes, trouble is never too far away.
With Zach Galifianakis (Alan), Bradley Cooper (Phil) and Ed Helms (Stu) reprising the three lead roles, this is just as reliant on familiarity as the second movie, of course. In fact, this final chapter sees pretty much everyone returning for one last hurrah. It’s fun to catch up with many of the characters and a number of the jokes that call back to previous events manage to get a laugh without seeming too smug. The leads, including Jeong, all do great (they have BEEN those characters ever since the opening scenes of the first movie), and it’s good to see Jeffrey Tambor, Heather Graham and others return, however briefly. Justin Bartha may be offscreen for most of the action, once again, but at least he’s lucky enough to avoid any scenes featuring an unfortunate giraffe, some vicious poultry, Melissa McCarthy flirting with Galifianakis (which is hilarious) and people having to dangle from the roof of Caesars Palace.
Director Todd Phillips also co-wrote the script with Craig Mazin, and fair play to them for pulling this instalment back from the dark pit that the second movie entered. Things do start off quite dark, but it’s not long until they get back to the lighter tone of the first film, with the second barely a distant, blurry memory that is sometimes referred to, but never to the detriment of the fun that has been injected back into the series.
It’s not as good as the first film, but it’s a LOT better than the second film. That it fits in so many callbacks and references while still feeling pretty fresh and, by the end, satisfying is something that should please those who wanted the last outing with the wolfpack to be a fitting one. Rest assured, it is.
The Hangover Part III, and the entire trilogy (of course), is now available just in time for you to purchase and add to the Christmas pile.
DIRECTOR: TODD PHILLIPS
WRITER: TODD PHILLIPS, CRAIG MAZIN
STARS: ZACH GALIFIANAKIS, BRADLEY COOPER, ED HELMS, JUSTIN BARTHA, KEN JEONG, JOHN GOODMAN, MELISSA MCCARTHY, JEFFREY TAMBOR, HEATHER GRAHAM
RUNTIME: 100 MINS APPROX