by Tim Gordon
The End of the Road
After two earlier successful and crazy adventures, director Todd Phillips and the Wolfpack are once again forced into action one last time in the ill-fated and utterly disappointing comedy, The Hangover Part III.
In the beginning, Phillips’ concept and set-up caught audiences off-guard, dropping you directly into the morning after a night of wild and crazy activity and you were left to deconstruct just what the hell had just occurred. College buddies Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Doug (Justin Bartha) reluctantly tolerate the outrageous antics of grown manchild, Alan (Zach Galifianakis), who longs to simply be accepted as an equal.
In his latest effort, Phillips takes the focus off of his usual suspects and centers the story on the antics of the out-of-control-troublemaker, Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), whose daring Shawshank-like prison break kick off the proceedings. On the loose, Chow apparently stole some gold from a very pissed-off drug lord, Marshall (John Goodman) who leverages the Wolfpack’s relationship with fugitive to extract some getback.
Since Bangkok, the crew have settled back into their old routines, including the embattled Alan. After a tragic giraffe accident (don’t ask) and the subsequent death of his dad, his friends and family decide to stage an intervention to help their befuddled and confused friend. While on the way to drop Alan off, the crew is kidnapped by Marshall and given an ultimatum – they have 24 hours to find the lecherous and treacherous Chow or Doug won’t be in anymore Hangover movies!
Their latest adventures takes them first to Mexico and back to the scene of their original adventure – Sin City, Las Vegas. Along the way, there is the typical Wolfpack banter, Alan enthralled by handsome Phil, dissing Stu every chance he gets and thoroughly frustrating both men as they once AGAIN try to save Doug’s life.
Phillips, who was widely criticized for a sequel that felt like nearly the identical film to the original, decides to go in a different direction – and the results are disastrous. If this is surely the end of the trilogy, Phillips has no one to blame but himself for a screenplay that has too many gross and offensive jokes (animal decapitation, creepy children scenes and full-male frontal nudity) and is simply not funny and worst of all just plain BORING.
Released from the shackles of the comedic first two films, the Wolfpack at their core are very unlikable characters. Cooper, after two solid performances in Silver Linings Playbook and The Place Beyond the Pines, suddenly seems far too good for this sort of trash. As a matter of fact, so does Helms while Galifianakis seems especially irritating this time around. There are long stretches where the jokes fall flat and it all seems like a long futile process that you can’t wait to the end – and feels that it is nowhere in site.
The biggest loser in this franchise is Bartha, who may have had a total of 30 minutes of screen time in all three adventures. The second film this year that I had a strong urge to just up and leave, Phillips appears to be hungover from all of the money he made from the first two films and thought that his third film was bulletproof. “We can’t be friends anymore. When we get together, bad things happen and people get hurt,” Alan observes. Chow’s response says it all, “Yeah, but that’s the point! It’s funny!” Unfortunately for Phillips and the filmmakers this disgusting boring spectacle – is not funny and makes one want to throw the Wolfpack to the wolves!!!!