Cocktails and Movies Review: “The Hangover III” – You’re 86’ed

Your money is better suited for a six pack and the loss of your memory

Cocktails and Movies The Hangover Part 3

The end? Hopefully.

It’s hard to tell what pitch of The Hangover III was when the producers walked into the offices at Warner Brothers, other than “Hey, we kinda have to do it, don’t we?” It’s hard to describe this movie – is it a comedy? Action? Drama? Crime story? It’s literally all over the map and very little of it made us laugh as much as the first one, or even the contrived plot of the second one. There is a bright spot, not many, but we’ll get to that.

Honestly, we had some high expectation for this film, even though many panned the second film. While the second installment had some funny moments and we could see the story “necessity,” the third movie is just unwarranted and really without ANY of the fun of the first two.

Uneven start

The movie opens with Chow (Ken Jeong) breaking out of a Thai prison after he had been caught at the end of the second film. It’s neither funny or necessary. Then we move to Alan (Zack Galifianakis) driving down the Orange County freeway, drinking a beer and towing his new pet giraffe. We later learn that he has been off his meds for six months and that his behavior is steadily getting worse. Which leads us to the giraffe incident. If you’ve seen the trailers for this film, you know what happens. What you don’t know is the consequences. The fact that Alan is drinking a beer while towing a giraffe in down the freeway isn’t irresponsible, it’s just stupid (kind of like this film). And the same can be said for the giraffe who doesn’t appear to duck. Stupid giraffe.

Alan’s dad, Sid (Jeffrey Tambor), gets off the phone with the mayor (of what?) and the story has made national news. He confronts Alan on his new unmedicated behavior and threatens to cut him off if he doesn’t go back on his meds. Alan refuses and Sid goes into cardiac arrest and dies. Lucky for him. After the funeral, his sister Tracy (Sasha Barrese), his brother-in-law Doug (Justin Bartha), Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms) stage an intervention and convince him to go to a treatment center in Arizona. He’ll go if the “Wolfpack” will drive him there.

Their drive to AZ is sidetracked by a crime lord named Marshall (John Goodman), who knows that the only person keeping in touch with Chow is Alan. You see, waaaaay back in the first movie “Black Doug” (Mike Epps), who works for Marshall, sold Alan the wrong drugs, the guys got FUBAR and got wrapped up with Chow. But Chow had also taken something from Marshall. It’s very and unnecessarily complicated, but hey, the movie needs a plot of some sort. Marshall kidnaps Doug and tells them they have three days to track down Chow and deliver him to Marshall or he kills Doug. Poor Justin Bartha, great guy, but you could have used a cardboard cut-out of him for as much screen time as he has.

A few unfunny scenes later, Alan, Phil and Stu track Chow down in Tijuana and they get into some hi-jinx and through some more highly illogical turns and twists, find themselves in Vegas again. Here in Vegas, they track down their lost mini-van to a pawn shop run by Cassandra (a very funny Melissa McCarthy), she helps them out and there is a moment between Alan and Cassandra that is the movie’s one funny moment.

(Side note on Melissa McCarthy: is there a funnier female actor out there? She is both sweet and crass and funny and touching, sometimes all at the same time. He scene in the pawn shop, yelling at her mother and the “heated” interaction with Zack Galifianakis is almost worth the price of admission. LOVE HER!)

The boys, with some help from Jade (Heather Graham), now married and out of the escort/stripping business and track him down to Caesar’s Palace, where it all began. There’s a chase scene and they meet with Marshall and give Chow to him. Done deal. Film  over. Story ended.

If it sounds like this movie isn’t very funny, it’s because it’s really not. I don’t want to ever trash a writer’s work or team of writers. But, this movie is written not by the guys who wrote the first one, but by the guys who wrote the second one. And you can tell the difference again. What’s more, this movie has a feel of just tying up lose ends, bringing in characters we haven’t seen since The Hangover, giving them some screen time and then having served their purpose to move the ill-conceived story along, dropping them. It’s perfunctory and contrived and without heart or many laughs.

What this movie is about is Alan letting go of the things that aren’t good for him and growing up. We should all do the same.

Cocktails and Movies Rating: A cocktail during the film for something to focus your attention on. Then a WHOLE LOT OF cocktails to help you forget…