“Hangover III” inspires highs in some, headaches in others

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Ankita Tejwani

Mixed Reviews is a feature where we examine recently released works with perspectives from two different reporters. This week we reviewed our first film “The Hangover Part III,” directed by Todd Phillips.

Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Douglas (Justin Bartha) and  Alan (Zach Galifianakis) are on the way to a rehabilitation center before they are kidnapped. They are in a car chase.
Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Douglas (Justin Bartha) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) are on the way to a rehabilitation center before they are kidnapped. They are in a car chase. Source: Warner Bros.

Ankita’s Take: Unexpected, but hilarious.

In 2009, “The Hangover” came out and made America laugh in masses. The extravagant setting and extreme plotline made for a comedic classic. Not long after, “The Hangover Part II” was released, bringing in more money in the box office but failing to deliver to the viewers. “The Hangover II” was known to be repetitive and unoriginal. The inebriated “wolfpack trilogy” ends with an unexpected but fun twist through the alcohol lacking, crude humor filled sequel “The Hangover III.“

Writer and director Todd Philips’s approach to a satisfying ending not only keeps comfortable with a similar Las Vegas setting and returning characters but also manages to be inventive and original with an authentic plotline.

During the movie, Alan (Zach Galifianakis) is transported to a rehabilitation center two hours away from his home by his close friends, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Douglas (Justin Bartha). During this trip, they are kidnapped by mafia leader Marshall (John Goodman) and, on account of an illegal drug scandal was involved in,asked to find the trio’s crazy but abandoned partner in crime, Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong). While Marshall keeps Douglas hostage, the rest are sent to find Mr. Chow. The story then becomes a chase around Las Vegas to find money that was stolen from Marshall and hunt down Mr. Chow.

The rule of crude humor is that you can’t have any boundaries. The humor doesn’t necessarily need to be vulgar — it just needs to be real. Philips catches this drift perfectly in his film, while still showing substantive thematic plot lines of greed, family and friendship.

While some viewers complain that there were no actual hangovers in the movie, that would have only made the movie come across as forced, unoriginal and ultimately just a desperate call for a few laughs. The toned down and real ending to the trilogy not only makes it more relatable, but also more humorous. Overall, “The Hangover III” stays true to its original roots but pushes the envelope, contributing to the film’s overall success.

 

Thea’s Take: Not hung up on the hangover.

I guess the third time isn’t always the charm.

The raunchy, crude humor of “The Hangover” series was welcome in the first 2009 movie, skillfully performed with an underlying farcical attitude and a smirking absurdity that highlighted its own brainlessness. “The Hangover Part II’s” release, however, brought nothing new to the table: a parallel plot structure (three men, a wedding, a hangover) paired with what was once a fresh and original sense of humor which, in re-delivery, turned sour and predictable.

Under the impression that director Todd Philips would finally introduce another shamelessly hysterical comedy to his audience, filmgoers went to see “The Hangover Part III” with hopeful hearts, and they did end up getting a fresh plot (no wedding this time). But despite that refreshing twist, Philips again manages to utilize the same overworked sense of humor that had already gotten old the second time around. On top of that, the movie questionably uses an excessive amount of unnecessary violence: Where silly, trivial antics once were, the audience finds itself watching a giraffe get decapitated.

Philips’ obvious desperation to create another groundbreaking, hysterically deranged movie glares through the movie screen with insecure eyes. However, his reuse of his same old comedic formula, albeit placed in a different plot, doesn’t quite hit the right note — or any note, for that matter. At the end of the day, we can only hope that “The Hangover” series has drunk down its last shot and finds a friend to drive it home.