I know at least the first sequel was planned all along, but The Hangover Trilogy has to be one of the weirdest and most unnecessary trilogies in cinematic history. The Hangover: Part III only further cements this thinking. The film proves that too much is just way too much and in the process completely forgot what made the first film work so well: the comedy. Whatever goodwill you have left towards this trilogy will be completely lost by the time the film gets to the credits and actually delivers one of the best post-credits scenes ever.
The Hangover: Part III follows the aftermath of the previous two films as Chow (Ken Jeong) escapes from a Bankok prison while the “wolfpack” (Zach Galifianakis’ Alan, Bradley Cooper’s Phil and Ed Helms’ Stu) prepare to take Alan to rehab. However, nobody knows that they are destined to meet again for one final showdown in Las Vegas. The film (like the first two) is directed by Todd Phillips while Phillips co-writes the screenplay with Craig Mazin (who also co-wrote The Hangover: Part II).
As a conclusion to the trilogy, this film works quite well. Phillips and Mazin make sure that there is evidence of a character arc for Alan (who is clearly the lead of this film over his pack members). Almost all of the loose ends are tied up and there are numerous references and callbacks to the first two films. Then why doesn’t this film work? Phillips and Mazin give us too much of a good thing. Chow and (especially) Alan are funny characters when used in moderation. They cannot, however, carry an entire film, which is what Phillips and Mazin try to make them do with this film. With so much time devoted to these two characters, the characters and the film become insufferable. Yet this is not even the film’s worse sin. Somehow in the midst of trying to make the Alan-Chow relationship the center of the entire trilogy, Phillips and Mazin forgot to make this film funny. Sure audiences across America will find places to laugh during this film, but their laughs will ring as hollow as the film’s script. There’s a few laughs sprinkled throughout, but that is it.
The awful script leaves a toll on the film’s cast. The film completely forgets to give big moments to Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms. For a film series that has put so much emphasis on its “wolfpack”, it’s massively disappointing to see two-thirds of it be ignored. While Cooper and Helms get little to do, Zach Galifianakis gets too much to do and his quirky style that makes him so likeable in whatever he does becomes intolerable. Then there is Ken Jeong. Jeong was funny if hardly a scene-stealer in the first film, but years of playing the exact same character in every single one of his projects and Todd Phillips giving him way too much to do has made him the most annoying actor currently working. The one actor who is able to survive the film unscathed is John Goodman, who is well cast as the film’s villain.
The Hangover: Part III is proof that way too much of a good thing can become your worst nightmare.