Opening 30 May 2013
Writing credits: Todd Phillips, Craig Mazin, Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Principal actors: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong
Hangover Part III is a perfect example of how the vampiristic dogma of Hollywood can take something amusing and original and turn it into a soulless husk of a film. Back in 2009 with the first installment of the trilogy, it was realized that they had stumbled across something special. The set-up, three friends and a slightly unbalanced soon to be brother-in-law go to Vegas for a bachelor party. The next day, three of them wake up surrounded by chaos with the groom-to-be Doug (Justin Bartha) missing, and they must work together to figure out where they lost him. Each of the three main characters is utilized to his utmost potential: Bradley Cooper as Phil, the attractive but jerky teacher; Ed Helms as Stu, the awkward and serious dentist; and Zach Galifianakis as the almost child-like Alan who causes all of the trouble in his naiveté. This formula was then almost carbon copied into the sequel The Hangover Part II (2011), with only changing the location to Bangkok and the missing person to Stu’s young, soon to be brother-in-law. While successful in the box office, many criticized The Hangover Part II as being too similar to the first movie.
In the final installment, it was as if the creative team realized they had to mix things up to keep it popular. However, it remains just as boring and unimaginative as the sequel. While on the way to take Alan to rehab for his mental issues, Doug is captured by Marshall (John Goodman). Marshall issues an ultimatum: find and capture Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), the insane Asian who wreaked much havoc in the first two movies, or else Doug will be killed. Phil, Stu and Alan then spend the rest of the movie trying to capture Chow.
Ignoring the fact that it is odd to call a film The Hangover without any actual hangovers, there is really nothing new in this film that wasn’t in the previous two. Stu is still worried about losing his dental practice, Phil is even more two-dimensional and boring than ever, and Alan continues to play the same-old quirky role that we’ve seen before. The script is tired, and while there are funny moments, the whole thing falls flat because it is the third time we’ve seen this movie. More of the three characters bickering in the car, more of Alan obsessing over Phil and being cruel to Stu for no apparent reason, more of Ken Jeong running around as a crazy Asian man of no definitive country or culture.
This brings up another point that needs to be raised. As much as these films can be amusing, I have a feeling that in fifty years they will be considered to be just as casually racist and insensitive as many of the films in the 40’s and 50’s often are. There are many gags that rang false in this film and shows that it is ultimately a movie told from an all-white point of view. At some point in the film Chow is described as having “an Asian accent”, which cements how this character is not supposed to be a real human, but some sort of weird Asian stereotype. There is the character of Black Doug, the drug dealer, who of course has to be called such so that there is no confusion between him and the other, good Doug. At one point the audience is called to laugh as Stu and Phil are shocked at Alan, who kisses Chow on the cheek, because men showing affection towards one another in such a way are embarrassing or wrong. There was even a one-off joke about the Jews. There seems to be something in this film for pretty much any bigot out there to get a laugh.
There is nothing I can say that will stop the mindless droves from going and watching this film. Everyone hopes that maybe it will live up to the fun and originality of the original, but alas, it is just another sequel so that everyone can make a quick buck, or hundred million. You too can watch the wide smile of Bradley Cooper and the other cast members as they rake in the big bucks while simultaneously selling their creative souls to the devil for the sake of money. But if you do go to see this one, you may feel the need to follow the previous examples of the characters in this film and have a few drug-laced drinks or marshmallows to help it fade away from your memory. (Rose Finlay)