5/30/2013 - The Wolfpack hits the road for another wild adventure in The Hangover Part III, a heavy load of dirty laundry that you have to carry up three flights of stairs and scrub by hand.
You know, but in movie form. Drudgery for your eyes.
Bearded old baby Alan (Zach Galifianakis) always seemed to have some sort of undiagnosed personality disorder, but as it turns out his problems were diagnosed — or at least we can assume that after we’re told someone prescribed him meds that he’s now off. With the death of his father (Jeffery Tambor) — the one person who could keep some kind of control over him — Alan seems in danger sinking into the muck of his own crazy brain. So his family holds an intervention and Alan agrees to go to some kind of treatment center in Arizona if the Wolfpack — Doug (Justin Bartha), Stu (Ed Helms) and Phil (Bradley Cooper) — will drive him there.
But little does the gang realize that the movie didn’t start with them but with a scene of Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), a criminal who terrorized them in the first two movies, escaping from a Thai prison. Halfway to Arizona, the guys are pushed off the road by Marshall (John Goodman), a criminal who is looking for Chow. Marshall stole some gold, Chow stole it from Marshall. Now Marshall is looking for the missing Chow and he believes the Wolfpack either knows where he is or can find him. For incentive, Marshall takes Doug hostage (and, heck, Doug always sits out these capers anyway). Soon the trio are back on the road, traveling into Mexico and then back to Las Vegas to try to save their friend.
I’m not sure what it is with me and The Hangover movies. I recall thinking the trailer for the first one was funny. If I knew nothing about these movies and you described some of the wackier elements of the movie, I’ll bet I’d think they were funny. I think some of the people in this movie have been funny before in other things. I just don’t find The Hangover movies funny at all. It’s like a color-blindness — which was actually the joke of one of the bits in the movie that, as I think about it now, sounds like it should have been funny but just wasn’t. And it’s not the raunchiness or the swearing or the violence — I enjoy all of those things. But just not here. For me, The Hangover movies have always been a cold dead fish — cloudy-eyed, unmoving and with a growing stink.
Perhaps it’s the way this movie — like the other two — always falls back on scenes where the guys stand around shocked at the thing that just happened, exclaiming “what the swear-word” for what feels like minutes. And then another shocking thing happens, and then they f-bomb at a higher register and wave their arms, like animals trapped in some kind of zaniness tar pit. Intellectually, I can see that this movie should be a stomach-crunching laugh riot and leave me feeling lighter from all the guffaws. But in reality I found myself thinking “do we have to?” as the movie trudged through Chow singing at a karaoke bar or the guys questioning a wacky pawn store operator. Those scenes in particular had things going on in them — including, at the pawn shop, a cameo by one of my favorite comic actresses — that should have been at least chuckle-worthy but instead they had me checking my clock.
Sigh, I’d think, only two minutes since I checked last time.
But maybe this is me, maybe this is just the dog whistle I can’t hear. If you liked the first two movies my guess is that you will, to a lesser degree, enjoy this one. The characters seem less well-drawn and if you can’t remember who they are, the movie isn’t going to really help you fill in the outlines. (Bradley Cooper’s character, for example, no longer registers as what I think he was initially, which was a bored married guy looking for fun.) If you, like me, are deaf to this series’ charm, there is no reason to start trying to find the good in it now. C-
Rated R for pervasive language, sexual references, some violence and drug content and brief graphic nudity. Directed by Todd Phillips and written by Phillips & Craig Mazin (based on characters by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore), The Hangover Part III is an hour and 40 minutes long and is distributed by Warner Bros.