Complete A-Z list

Hangover Part III, The


Stars: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, John Goodman, Melissa McCarthy, Heather Graham, Jeffrey Tambor, Mike Epps, Sasha Barrese, Jamie Chung, Sondra Currie, Gillian Vigman, Silvia Curiel, Grant Holmquist.

Director: Todd Philips

If you’re expecting the same over-heated brew of lewd, crude humour and just plain filth, director Todd Phillips doesn’t really deliver. With the exception of a very funny subplot involving Zach Galifianakis and seasoned scene-stealer Melissa McCarthy, The Hangover Part III comes over as a somewhat strange variation on a road movie with sinister thriller overtones from John Goodman’s scene-stealing turn as the big-time criminal who triggers off the second act.

Prior to Goodman turning up, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha have decided the only way to deal with Galifianakis who, having quit his medication is out of control in a big way, is to drive him to rehab in Arizona. Which is when mobster Goodman stops them en route by forcing their car off the road and informing them he wants them to find Asian hoodlum Ken Jeong who stole $42 million in gold bars from him. Goodman, unsurprisingly, wants his gold back and takes Bartha hostage to underline his ’request’.

This is when The Hangover Part III switches from buddy comedy to comedy thriller. From there on in the comic and parody thriller themes are well enough integrated although, despite a crazy climax back in Las Vegas, there are sadly fewer low laughs on and off than in the previous two movies.

Jeong seizes the spotlight right from the start with his crazy escape from a Bangkok prison and soars into the stratosphere with a wildly over-the-top performance. Cooper and Company do all that Philips asks of them but frequently seem to be coasting through characters they already know backwards and see no reason to make any more or any less convincing than they did in the previous two pictures, leaving Galifianakis (with McCarthy) and Jeong (wilder and weirder than ever and, even more bizarrely, perhaps, a qualified doctor in real life) to try to steal the show. It’s not their fault that Goodman’s scary performance takes the honours.

If excess in every aspect is what you want but without the over-the-top filth that characterised its predecessors, The Hangover Part III works well enough in its not entirely thought-out way. And the final, disgracefully funny, scene – make sure you stay to the very end – presages a possible return to the out-and-out low humour of the first two films.

(For the record, Heather Graham appears as Helms’ first wife. She is unlikely to be remembered for her contribution, which should please her).

Alan Frank

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
100 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 22 May 2013