Let me start off by saying that yes, I have seen the previous two Hangover movies. So, this review will judge the third based on its standing in the trilogy. But first, a little background on the other two.
In the first two Hangover movies, friends Stu, Phil and Alan have a wild night (respectively in Vegas in #1 and Bangkok in #2) and wake up hungover to find a whole mess of stuff has happened. In both, the biggest issue is tracking down two missing people, one a friend and the other a fiance’s nephew. The films also feature a criminal named Mr. Chow who gets tied into both film’s events, serving to add more humor and action.
If the two films sound familiar, that’s because The Hangover Part II is pretty much a copy/paste of the first film. Now, I will say that I fully enjoyed the original Hangover. It was one of my favorite comedies in a while. And while it was disappointing that Part II was practically the same in all aspects, there was still a lot of humor and fun to keep me entertained overall. And now we come to the final (?) film in the trilogy, the most radically different of the previous two, Part III.
In this film, there is no hangover involved whatsoever. That’s both good and bad, as it dares to get out of the formula of the first two movies, but also makes no sense from a title standpoint other than being part of the trilogy. Minor nitpick aside, this film follows Alan, Stu, Phil and Part 1’s missing friend Doug as they attempt to take Alan to a rehab center to help him with his MANY issues. They’re diverted when some goons, under the watchful eye of John Goodman, kidnap Doug and force the remaining three to hunt down Mr. Chow. Mr. Chow had previously stolen money from Goodman and now he’s come to collect. This takes the trio from Tijuana to Vegas once more as they try to stop Chow once and for all.
I’ll get the positives out of the way first. I felt Alan’s journey into becoming a more responsible adult was done well in the last half of the movie. He has a great scene with the baby-turned-kid he took care of during Part 1’s misadventure, and he matures in his own way by the end both with parting ways with his “friend” Chow and settling into marriage. The plot had moments that tied in very well with the events of the past two films. And finally, the action scenes were done pretty well and the actors seemed to be having fun.
However, I will state right here and now that this is, to me, the weakest film of the three. I realize it is the most different, but it felt like a detriment to it. The previous movies had a large focus on comedy and were billed as such, but this one felt more dark and dramatic than funny. The humor that was there tended to either get nothing out of me or at best make me snicker. There were plenty of cliched, cringe-worthy lines that didn’t help. But the biggest thing that bothered me was the huge focus on Alan and Mr. Chow.
To explain this, I’ll go back to the first film. In that film, those two seemed to get the most laughs aka had the funniest lines. It seems like the director took note of that, because Part II had a little more focus on them both individually and while together. Alan seemed to turn a little bit more prick-ish and Chow got a little bit more annoying. But that’s ramped up even more in this one. Alan, aside from those maturing moments I mentioned, is random to the point of not being nearly as funny as he was and is an even bigger jerk. And Chow, who was funny in small doses, has such a big part that he becomes an annoyance. It was really disappointing to see most of the focus going toward their characters and leaving the rest as straight men. Oh, aside from a cameo appearance by Melissa McCarthy, which was Alan-esque quirky but felt forgettable.
I went into this one with lowered expectations since the trailers didn’t wow me. I can’t really say I came out pleasantly surprised, but I did think it had good moments. Overall, though, if you’re a fan of the films, check it out but don’t expect much. I’d even recommend skipping it completely, since it doesn’t feel like there’s much to miss here. My rating for The Hangover: Part III is an average 5/10.