The Hangover Part III (2013)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Hangover Part III</strong> (2013)

(Video on Demand, October 2013) As someone who had a mixed reaction to The Hangover and an annoyed one to its nearly photocopied sequel, I’m almost unsurprised to find out that I don’t completely dislike the third installment in “The Wolfpack trilogy”.  At the very least, it disposes with the narrative scheme of the first two films and attempts something new.  It also brings back Ken Jeong’s unleashed character, a force of chaos that ends up driving much of the entire plot.  The result certainly has its moments, as it zigzags from Los Angeles to Tijuana to (much to the characters’ dismay) Las Vegas once again.  The comedy certainly is of the hit-and-miss type: some stuff works, some stuff doesn’t and viewers just have to wait for the next gag if one isn’t to their liking.  With this series, it doesn’t pay off to be offended, but it actually takes a while (arguably until after the credits) for this third Hangover to get overly graphic.  Perhaps the film is mellowing along its characters; perhaps it’s a recognition that you can only go back to the same raunchy source so many times.  Much of the film’s success has to go to the actors under Todd Phillips’ direction.  Bradley Cooper is still as preposterously charming as ever, while Ed Helms continues to undermine his own straight-laced image.  Zach Galifianakis remains annoying, but even that annoyance seems lessened here, largely because his character does get a bit of emotional growth along the way.  The Hangover III benefits from a few good comic set-pieces (the best of which taking place atop Caesar’s Palace), and manages to re-use a lot of material from the previous two film, even if only in passing.  The result may not be great cinema, but it’s decent comedy and it brings this would-be trilogy to a decent close.  It could have been worse, or at least far more similar to the first two films.

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