MRR Review: "The Hangover: Part III"

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The third and final installment in The Hangover franchise, this 2013 comedy flick is directed by--who else--Todd Phillips, the man at the helm of the first two Hangover movies. Following a disaster-filled trip to Thailand, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zack Galifianakis) & Doug (Justin Bartha) are back in the states and caught up in another set of misadventures. Also reprising their roles from The Hangover Part II (2011): Ken Jeong, Heather Graham & Jamie Chung.
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Movie Review: "The Hangover Part III"

The first two movies in "The Hangover" franchise each had a groom who was about to marry their sweetheart before things went ridiculously wrong right before the ceremony. For the final movie, "The Hangover Part III," there's no wedding and no bachelor party for Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Doug (Justin Bartha), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis), who are collectively known as the Wolf Pack. Of course, there wouldn't be a movie unless the boys ran into some kind of trouble, and this time the stakes are higher than ever.

After Alan's father dies, Doug becomes concerned he needs some professional help to move on with his life. He stages an intervention, inviting Stu and Phil to come and help. During the intervention, Alan agrees to visit a rehab center in Arizona, and the Wolf Pack agrees to ride in Phil's minivan together to drop him off. While on the road, they're sidetracked by Marshall (John Goodman) and his henchman, Black Doug (Omar Epps), the drug dealer who sold Alan roofies in the first film. It turns out that Chow (Ken Jeong) has escaped the Thai prison he was rotting in at the end of the last film. Before he went to prison, he stole a fortune in gold bars from Marshall, and he wants them back. He has been unable to locate Chow, so he turns to the Wolf Pack to find him.

Marshall keeps Doug and threatens to kill him if Alan, Stu, and Phil don't find Chow and his gold. Since Alan and Chow have kept in touch, they use Alan's email to track him down in Tiajuana, but he outsmarts them and brings them to Las Vegas, the site of the first film. It seems only fitting the finale ends back in Las Vegas, where so much mayhem and hilarity ensued previously. As Chow continually evades capture, the Wolf Pack gets more and more desperate and Alan realizes he has to step up and try to be a man in order to save Doug. There are plenty of laughs as Alan finally begins to grow up and even gets a date with pawnbroker, Cassie (Melissa McCarthy).

A large part of the comedy in the first two movies came from Galifianakis, who has the man-child acting routine down better than probably any other actor of this era. His pregnant pauses and awkward questions are comedy gold, and have served the franchise well. In "The Hangover Part III," the first half of the film still has plenty of his trademark antics, but he really begins to mature after he sees the baby from the first film, now a walking, talking toddler. Fans also get to see Alan show interest in a woman for the first time in a scene that's as weird as it is funny and fascinating. It shows a layer to the character nobody knew existed, without sacrificing laughter. It's almost too bad this is the last film in the series because it might have been fun to see what Alan would have done if he had (gasp!) become a parent.

There are always cameos in this series, but Goodman's appearance goes a little further than a mere cameo. He has a fair amount of screen time as Marshall, a drug kingpin who doesn't think twice about murdering his head of security in cold blood right in front of the Wolf Pack. He's the perfect sociopath, blending into society one moment and going crazy and killing people the next. He's a menacing and irrational character who's threatening enough to make the boys go on a wild goose chase across a good portion of the Southwest and Mexico. He can also be very funny, making him the perfect villain for this type of film.

The ending of the film does leave the door open for a fourth installment in the franchise, but director Phillips has insisted this is absolutely the last entry into the series. With a publicity poster that features the tagline "The End" in bold words, it's hard to argue the man is telling the truth. He said he always envisioned the series as a trilogy, and a callback during the film to the first movie proves his point. It appears Phillips always envisioned his Wolf Pack in the position they're in during the film, which makes the conclusion a little more satisfying. If the studio waves enough money at Phillips, perhaps he will recant and do a fourth film, but if he doesn't, "The Hangover Part III," is a good way for the series to end.

Rating: R (pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity)

Length: 100 minutes

Release Date: May 23, 2013

Directed by: Todd Phillips Genre: Comedy

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars