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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

The Hangover Part III review: get pissed

The Hangover Part III red light Ed Helms Bradley Cooper Zach Galifianakis

It’s like they realized they never should have made a sequel, so for Part III, they didn’t even bother to make a Hangover movie at all…
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): there was never enough concept here to sustain a franchise

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

It starts out with a joke stolen from The Shawshank Redemption, which runs directly into an action bit stolen from The Fugitive. Bizarrely, The Hangover Part III goes on to not steal again — from Dude, Where’s My Car? — the one clever conceit that made the franchise’s reputation, not to mention its name: there’s no hangover here, no mystery to be solved about the previous evening’s intoxicating adventures. It’s an odd choice for director Todd Phillips and his coscreenwriter, Craig Mazin (Identity Thief), as if they’d learned after the appalling Part II (which Mazin also cowrote) that they never should have made a sequel, so they decided that for Part III, which they also should not have made, they wouldn’t even bother to make a Hangover movie at all. Which must have seemed like a good idea at the time. Even though it’s like saying, “Let’s make a movie about professional wrestling, except all the wrestling will be real.”

I’m so confused. I don’t know how to feel. Waiter, this soup is terrible, but in a different way from the other terrible soup I actually ordered.

I have a wonderful awful feeling that Todd Phillips is going to wake up one morning and realize he’s been on a five-year bender, and he’s gonna be all, “I made three movies called what? And also Due Date? What the fuck, people?!”

So once again Stu (Ed Helms: Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Jeff, Who Lives at Home), Phil (Bradley Cooper: Silver Linings Playbook, The Place Beyond the Pines), Doug (Justin Bartha: Holy Rollers, National Treasure: Book of Secrets), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis: The Campaign, Puss in Boots) are on the road, but it ain’t no party: the other guys are driving Alan to some sort of in-patient facility where they think he can get help for his antisocial behavior and the wildly inappropriate stream-of-consciousness that passes for his conversation. They never get there, because they’re hijacked by bad guy Marshall (John Goodman: Flight, Argo), who has a thing with Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong: Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son), the Chinese gangster they pissed off in the first film and also pissed off again in Part II; Marshall also has a thing with “Black Doug” (Mike Epps: Lottery Ticket, Soul Men), the dealer who sold Alan the roofies-instead-of-ecstasy in the first film.

Ahhhhh! I get it! Part III is like the hangover from the first film has continued for four years.

It’s still not funny.

Marshall keeps Doug hostage — Bartha must have a clause in his contract that he is to appear in the film as little as possible — and instructs the other guys to find Chow and bring the little monster to Marshall. Along the way to this conclusion, there will be a trip to Tijuana; another trip to Vegas; one bit that’s so ingenious I admit grudging admiration; one ridiculously funny non sequitur and another outrageous cheer from Chow; and one nice moment when it seems that — though one would imagine that such a thing would have been edited out — Bradley Cooper pulls a Harvey Korman and laughs at something that Melissa McCarthy, in a small cameo, is doing, even though Phil shouldn’t be laughing.

Those few good bits encompass about 10 minutes of the flick. The rest of it is treading water punctuated by the cruel recurring trope about abused animals (beheaded, strangled, smothered) and one instance of emotional child abuse. As Stu and Phil say at different points here: “What the fuck?!” I’d been thinking that I didn’t dislike Stu and Phil as much in Part III as I did in Part II, but it might be only because they’re this sensible.

“Ha ha, we’re gonna die finally!” Chow cries at yet another WTF point. If only.

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The Hangover Part III (2013)
US/Can release: May 23 2013
UK/Ire release: May 22 2013

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated TTSU: time to sober up
MPAA: rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity
BBFC: rated 15 (contains strong language, sex and drug references, and brief nudity)

viewed in 2D
viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • Awful movie. I only saw the inter-credits scene, and it was definitely cringe-worthy (and the bits I saw beforehand weren’t funny at all, save for the Melissa McCarthy scenes).

    And the thought of a fourth Hangover is enough to make me sick. Enough already.

  • That scene may be among the worst things ever committed to film.

  • Yeah. Barring RL, how on earth would Stu be able to get a boob job in a few hours without feeling the aftereffects of surgery (stitches, soreness, et al)?

    And Ken Jeong should keep his clothes on. No one wants to see that.

  • Overflight

    Ken Jeong has a medical degree.

    I never tire of pointing that fact out.

    Ken Jeong went through the entire process to become a licensed physician in the state of California and he then decided to dedicate his life to this. And I do mean this ROLE because pretty much ALL his roles boil down to “crazy angry Asian dude”.

    I wonder if the boatloads of money he’s making (yet another crime) help him sleep at night. Who am I kidding, of course they do.

  • What does that have to do my comment? People make career changes all the time, Ken Jeong is no exception. It’s nice to have a back-up plan in case your acting career goes stagnant. (If someone like Natalie Portman wants to leave acting, she has a degree in psychology she can fall back on.)

    Of course, Jeong got $5M to take off his clothes and play the same “angry crazy Asian dude.” That’s more money than doctors make in a year. If it were that easy, I’d do it too.

  • God help me for attempting to explain anything about this movie, but I think the implication of the boob thing is that perhaps the wedding cake (which was supplied by Chow) was loaded up with hormones. Or something. Though why they would affect only Stu — and in such a ridiculous way — remains a mystery.

    Chow’s nudity reflects on what I’ve written before, which is that male nudity is generally *far* more acceptable onscreen if it’s somehow “funny.” Male nudity is so very rarely “sexy” — as for the pleasure of the viewer — and rarely occurs in a sexual context.

  • RogerBW

    This is why all series end badly. If a film (or TV programme) does well, the idea will be beaten again until a little more fluid comes out of the corpse and a sequel will be made. Only when people stop paying can the torture stop.

  • CB

    I agree it’s rare. But two recent viewings of Jurrasic Park 3D and thus two extended shots of Jeff Goldblum’s needlessly exposed, glistlening chest reminds me that it does sometimes exist. There wasn’t even any male-gaze cheesecake in that movie. Well, unless you count the dinosaur porn. Which of course I do.

    That’s not nudity of course it’s a PG-13 Spielberg fillm.

  • CB

    “What does that have to do my comment?”
    I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a rebuttle. It was just carrying on the conversation about Jeong.

  • Laura Dern is half naked compared to how the men are dressed. Or don’t her needlessly bare legs compare to Goldblum’s needlessly exposed chest?

  • b.lynch black

    i was perfectly happy seeing any of jeff goldblum exposed.

  • CB

    I don’t think there are any lingering, lovingly framed shots of her gams, and I’d like to think I would have noticed (or would like to have). Still good point I hadn’t thought of at all.

    If I didn’t see any cheeecake it could have been because that just seemed like what you’d wear on a tropical island, bugs allowing, and it was more the contrast in characters that put her in casual clothes and Dr. Grant in long pants.

  • I agree, it seems like what she should be wearing. In fact, it seems like what *anyone* should be wearing. (The kids are dressed appropriately for the weather.) And yet we see this so often too in movies: women dressed in tiny tank tops and short shorts while the men are wearing long pants, long sleeves, and jackets. How does that work, comfortwise? Someone is uncomfortable in the weather, whatever the weather is.

    It’s funny that you don’t seem to have thought that Goldblum’s open shirt is a concession to weather that was hotter than perhaps her was expecting. :-> Or that is Dern isn’t presented in a cheesecake way, but that Goldblum is beefcake. (It’s hard to shoot an actor’s face in a two-shot, or even a one-shot, that doesn’t include his upper torso.)

  • CB

    Sure, but it’s also easy not to overly linger on a shot that serves no purpose other than to show the full torso — he was literally doing nothing but reclining there with his shirt open while dialogue occured off-screen. They were underground at the time where it would have still been cool even with the power down. If there was an in-context reason for his shirt it would have been to treat his injuries but you couldn’t see them in that shot.

    I’m pretty sure there was nothing like that for Dern. No shot that said “this only exists so you can enjoy Laura Dern’s legs! So go on, take a nice long look.”

    Still from this perspective she does stand out as the only adult in shorts. Park staff, lawyers and businessmen could be excused (yeah some places mandate long pants even in the most ridiculously hot and humid weather), Goldbloom is too cool for shorts he needs his black pants, but still… it’s just her.

  • it’s also easy not to overly linger on a shot that serves no purpose other than to show the full torso

    If that’s how it seems to you, then perhaps you understand how odd it is for women to be treated that way by a film?

  • CB

    Sorry, what did I say to make you feel I don’t see male-gaze cheesecake the same way? I know dang well when a director shoots something for no reason other than titilation of the male audience. On the other hand what makes the Golblum Is Sexy scene “odd” to me is only what you said in the first post I replied to: That this kind of thing is practically non-existent compared to the male-gaze Lady Is Sexy cheesecake shots.

    Otherwise, I have no objections to Spielberg givin’ a little sumthin’ to the ladies. Until it gets excessive and characters exist for no reason but to be the object of cheesecake shots. Like it is and has been since forever for women in film. So in that sense I do see the two as different.

  • what did I say to make you feel I don’t see male-gaze cheesecake the same way?

    Nothing. I’m glad you get it. :->

  • MisterAntrobus

    So, Bradley Cooper is both your “boyfriend” and “enemy” on the Bias Meter because of this movie . . . have you acquired a boyfrenemy?

  • RogerBW

    Man, twenty-first century relationships are so complicated.

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