Not as headache inducing as the last one.
I have definitely been remiss in writing up my reviews lately, which is too bad as I have seen a couple of movies that are deserving of reviews. The fact is just when I think my life cannot get any busier somehow it finds a new, higher gear I didn’t even know existed. I need to stop doing so much stuff (for example, this last weekend I spent in Hartford getting my ass handed to me at Warhammer. ETC restrictions suck).
So I saw this film and have to admit it was much better than the Hangover Part II. Of course they could have shown us file footage of bowel cancer surgery and it would have been funnier and less disturbing that that pile of tripe. However, even without the last one to compare it to this would have been a fun, enjoyable film at least worth putting on the same shelf with the original Hangover.
The one thing they brought back that was completely missing from the last one was consequences. In the first film every thing they did had some kind of unpleasant payback; steal a police car, get used for Tazer practice. Steal a tiger from Mike Tyson, get punched in the face. In the second film they guys bumble their way through Thailand with nary a single major consequence worth mentioning. The thing is it’s consequences that make movies good. As soon as you figure out that there is no way that anything of a serious or potentially deadly consequence can happen to the main characters all tension bleeds from an action film. Likewise in comedy in order for a situation to be funny there has to be some kind of repercussion for stupidity.
In this film the paybacks are back, and they even call back to the last film and inject some consequences for those actions. I don’t want to spoil the film too much but sufficed to say every time the guys (especially Alan) do something dumb they pay the price for it.
I will throw in one complaint and that is the whole premise of the film is the guys get hammered and drugged and wake up dealing with the consequences while trying to piece together what happened. Thus the title the Hangover. This one is more about dealing with the further repercussions from the first film than anything else, and has no drug induced blackouts whatsoever. I can’t complain too much as I bitched mightily about how the last film was a blatant remake of the first one and at least they wrote an original script here.
This film is also the darkest of the three (where have we heard that phrase before?) with guys actually dying (or being killed). That does cast a slight pall over what is generally supposed to be pretty light fare, but honestly the humor was still decent and it didn’t detract from the enjoyment. The real strength of the Hangover has always been the chemistry between Phil, Stu, and Alan and this film definitely captures this. The humor is there, but unfortunately there is a slight smell of desperation as they studio tries to wring the last bit of milk from this otherwise dry cow.
The movie starts Chow (Ken Jeong-Hangover, Community, Transformers Dark of the Moon) escaping from a Chinese prison (ever see the Shawshank Redemption? If not you won’t be annoyed at the clear rip off here). Meanwhile Alan (Zach Galifianakis-the Hangover, Due Date, the Campaign) is being weirder than usual. His antics with killing a giraffe cause his father (perenial supporting characater actor Jeffrey Tambor-Arrested Development, There’s Something About Mary, Branded) to die of a heart attack. His family is concerned with him and wants to get him committed to a rehab clinic. Is brother-in-law Doug (Justin Bartha-the Hangover, National Treasure, Dark Horse) calls in the remaining wolf pack members Stu (Ed Helms-the Office, the Lorax, High Road) and Phil (Bradley Cooper-the Hangover, Limitless, Silver Linings Playbook) to convince Alan to go.
They go on a road trip but on the way are stopped by a local gangster (John Goodman-the Big Lebowski, Argo, Monsters, Inc. Big Lebowski poster courtesy of the Big Lewbowski t shirts category). It turns out the Chow stole $21MM worth of gold from the guy and he wants it back. He kidnaps Doug and gives the rest of the gang three days to find Chow and his money.
With that flimsy premise set the gang are on their way to hilarity. Honestly the story doesn’t do much more that give the three set piece after set piece to have their wacky adventures in. Chow is funny and messes with the gang. Turns out that he and Alan are great friends. The story actually leads up to a conclusion and lessons about friendship are (sort of) learned.
The stars. Better than the last one. Normally that would not warrant a star (I always feel movies need to stand on their own) but the last one left such a bad taste in my mouth I feel like I need to say something. One star. The great chemistry between the three main characters is as strong as ever. Two stars. Mr. Chow is as funny as ever. One star. A few really good laughs in there like delicious chocolate chips in a kind of bland cookie. One star. I can’t really put my finger on it but in general I was entertained and pleased. One star. Total: six stars.
The black holes. A lot of this film was sucking on humor fumes, and looking for the funny in anything. One black hole. It’s hard to find funny in a scene where two guys just got shot in the head. Kind of sets the tone off. One black hole. Calling it the Hangover when no one is actually hung over. One black hole. Total: three black holes.
So a grand total of three stars. You can take it or leave it, honestly. If you saw the other two and the last one sufficiently lowered your expectations you will probably enjoy it a lot. If you are a massive fan of the first one and managed to miss the second I don’t know if this will help you at all. Nothing visually screams for a big screen so I think this is very NetFlix-able. Date movie? Meh, not so much. I don’t see this helping your campaign out much at all. Bathroom break? Nothing sticks out in my head as being truly worthless, but nothing really sticks out as being a must see (except for the Chow escape from the hotel room. Don’t miss that. In fact most of the Chow scenes are pretty good).
Thanks for reading. More soon I promise. I need to get back on the case. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu. If you have comments on this film or my review feel free to post them here. Off topic questions or suggestions can be emailed to email@example.com. Have a great day. Talk to you soon.