Remember back in 2009 when audiences were abuzz about what tigers dreamed of, whether the said striped jungle cats preferred pepper over cinnamon, and exactly who was the tiny, naked violent Asian man springing from the Wolf Pack’s Mercedes? Cast your mind to 2011, when we wondered if this was a magic show, and where a chubby, bearded dude purchased his awesome golden lab t-shirt and how that and a traditional Chinese hat seem to be the perfect apparel for tracking down a lost teenager in Bangkok. I remember those movie moments from THE HANGOVER and THE HANGOVER PART II, but sadly the third and final installment of the Wolf Pack’s adventures, THE HANGOVER PART III, provides no comic memories and muddles into the sunset with a whimper.
I’m disappointed, to be frank, but on that note, I should have seen this coming. THE HANGOVER PART III lives up to the trailers – unexciting, lost, and way too much Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong). And sadly, too much Alan Garner (Zach Galifianakis), as well. Why a 100 minute movie was built around two supporting and limited characters, I’ll never understand. Especially in the case of Chow. Perhaps director and writer, Todd Phillips, ran out of creative gas, because this last outing feels uninspired, like the entire crew were simply going through the motions. That might be the case, but in reality, THE HANGOVER never needed two additional parts to its tale of Las Vegas bachelor party shenanigans and debauchery.
THE HANGOVER PART III opens with an introduction to the characters the movie wants to force down our throat: Leslie Chow (Jeong) escaping from a Chinese prison and Alan Garner (Galifianakis) accidently beheading a giraffe he just purchased while leisurely sipping a beer driving on a California interstate. Alan’s latest misstep is the nail in the coffin – literally, as his father (Jeffrey Tambor) has a heart attack while berating him for the mess he’s caused – and his family, along with his friends, aka The Wolf Pack, decide to stage an intervention and get Alan to commit to a rehab facility in Arizona. Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) hop in Phil’s minivan and take a downtrodden Alan to rehab and that’s where the attempted comic adventure begins. An old Las Vegas gangster named Marshall (John Goodman) shows up with Black Doug (Mike Epps) and tells The Wolf Pack they have three days to find Leslie Chow (who stole 21 million dollars worth of gold from Marshall) or he will kill White Doug. The rest of the movie has Stu, Phil and Alan going to Tijuana and back to Vegas and ends up becoming more of a poorly made whodunit than a raucous comedy. If THE HANGOVER PART III had a sound it would be the flat, wet, depressing last breath of a balloon deflating.
What made THE HANGOVER so amazing was the randomness, the absolute absurdity, and the amazing collaborative cast – which allowed bit players like Ken Jeong’s Leslie Chow and Zach Galifianakis’ Alan Garner to steal the show. THE HANGOVER II continued this comedy magic, but essentially was a retelling of the first movie except Vegas was replaced with Bangkok. What this final film is, other than a mess, I cannot say. To be fair, there are a few memorable lines, but all-in-all THE HANGOVER PART III is not something I’ll see again or be quoting three years from now. My advice: Skip the Wolf Pack and spend your time this weekend with Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel.