'The Hangover Part III' review: A walk of shame for another tired film trilogy
The first 'Hangover' was a fun ride. Its sequel was a much more dark, angry and much less fun slog. 'The Hangover Part III' is somewhere between the first two movies and brings the trilogy to a halfhearted close.
In short: a vengeful Vegas criminal forces the Wolfpack to track down and capture psychotic fugitive Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), who has broken out of his Bangkok prison. (Watch the trailer)
While not outright bad, 'Part III' just isn't as much fun as the first film and isn't as aggressively mean spirited as 'Part II.' The main problem is its overall tone - by raising the stakes, which include dealing with an increasingly unstable Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and saving Doug (Justin Bartha) from a murderous criminal -- 'Part III' straddles too many fences without committing to any one tone.
Although the movie has some huge laughs, they're too sparse to call 'Part III' a solid comedy. Alan's actions range from cruel to angry - which prevents the movie from being lighthearted and always pulls its back to being a somewhat dark comedy at best. The heist sequences - which put the Wolfpack stealing and breaking into buildings - are solid, but the dark/crime aspects of the film once again keep the movie from being fun and weigh its tone down with the very real threat that some or all of the Wolfpack could be murdered at any point in 'Part III.'
The claim that 'Part III' is the 'epic finale to the trilogy' is a halfhearted one at best. This story doesn't bring a fulfilling end to the 'Hangover' series. The core of the trilogy's 'conclusion' is centered completely on Alan's reluctance to change and let go of his beloved Wolfpack fraternity.
Although the Alan story is resolved, it comes at the cost of marginalizing Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms). If Alan is the heart of 'Part III,' Phil and Stu are only there to keep the story moving forward - they are tools/story mechanisms with no story arcs who just moan & groan for 90 mins. While two-thirds of the Wolfpack are wasted, a completely new character - played by 'Bridesmaids' star Melissa McCarthy - is added just to give Alan (forced) closure for the trilogy.
The film ultimately concludes with an ending that feels like a foot left in the door. That being said, the epilogue scene (which occurs just as the end credits begin to roll) is the best scene in the entire movie.
Final verdict: Watch 'Part III' to finish out the trilogy, but re-watch the first 'Hangover' to laugh.