If a film is being sold to you as a comedy, you expect to pop your disc in your Blu-ray player, sit as comfortably as you can on your couch or armchair and then proceed to laugh like a drain for the next 90 or so minutes. Right? Well, with this (allegedly) final outing from the Hangover crew, expect to sit there silent and stony-faced, because The Hangover Part 3 is mostly a laugh-free zone.
There's no wedding this time around, so no bachelopr party or hen's do or even a bar mitzvah for the guys to get drunk or drugged and then have to retrace the events of the night before. Cuddly, lovable, crazy Alan (Galifianakis) has gone off his meds, decapitated a giraffe and accidentally killed his dad. So his family and friends stage an intervention to let him know that he needs professional help (you think?) and that they have booked him into a facility to see that he gets it. But on the roadtrip on the way to the rehab centre in Arizona (why not go somewhere local? I'm sure that every town in America has a rehab centre), the guys are captured by a gang run by crime lord Marshall (Goodman).
You remember Marshall from the first film, don't you? No, neither do I. He was supposedly mentioned in passing when the guys were involved with the drug dealer Dougie. Anyway, Marshall is keen to get his hands on Mr Chow (Jeong), who has stolen $21m worth of gold bars from him. And he wants the guys to find Chow for him, so he takes Doug (Bartha) hostage. Meanwhile, Chow has pulled a Shawshank and escaped from the Thai prison he ended up in during the second film, and somehow makes his way back to the US. The Wolfpack has just three days to track him down and get the gold, or else Doug's dead.
Let me reiterate: The Hangover Part 3 is not a comedy. It's a road-cum-heist-cum-caper movie that sees the guys go to Mexico and then, all too briefly, back to Las Vegas. People don't just get hurt in this film, people (and giraffes, and chickens) die. Goodman's kingpin character is a mean sonofabitch who would not be out of place in a Tarantino film. Phil and Stu (Cooper and Helms) take a bit of a backseat here, leaving Alan and Chow to dominate the film. Bad move. Both are fine in small doses, but the characters are far too annoying to be the headline act. After a while, their schticks just get tired and dull.
The fun with Chow pretty much comes to an abrupt end in a Tijuana karaoke bar as he (badly) sings a rendition of Trent Reznor’s Hurt. And Alan's just tiresome from the start. Giving centre stage to these two crazy oddballs is the film's biggest mistake. Both Cooper and Helms look as though they are simply going through the motions, and if there is a (shudder) fourth instalment, I doubt we'll see them back. Graham's stripper from the first film pops in for a brief cameo, and McCarthy offers some light relief as a pawn-shop owner. But the rest of it's pretty hard going.
The Hangover Part 3 is nothing more than Hollywood at its greediest and most cynical. The first two films made big, big bucks at the box office, so hey, let's churn out another one! It's not a BAD film, but it's mean-spirited, unfunny and lazy. It's telling that the funniest scene in the entire movie – one that harks back to the theme of the entire triogy – doesn't happen untill after the credits have started rolling. The first Hangover was fresh and clever, and yes, people got hurt, but NOBODY DIED. This one, though, is a misfire on all counts.
EXTRAS ★★½ The featurette Replacing Zach: The Secret Auditions (6:09); the featurette The Wolfpack's Wildest Stunts (5:10); the featurette Zach Galifianakis In His Own Words (2;32); the featurette Pushing the Limits (3:36); the featurette Inside Focus: The Real Chow (5:24); the featurette Action Mash-Up (1:09); Extended Scenes (2:03); and Outtakes (7:51).