‘Hangover III’: the end to an era

Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Well, that was never the case in the “Hangover.” Or in “Hangover Part III.”

After “Hangover” sent Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) on a wild goose chase across Las Vegas in search of their missing friend, groom-to-be Doug (Justin Bartha), and “Hangover II” takes the gang through a similar scenario involving Stu’s wedding in Thailand, “Hangover III” takes the Wolfpack full circle: back to Vegas where their drunken, blacked-out misadventures began.

While “Hangover III” is less slightly formulaic than its predecessors (“Hangover II” was an almost frame-by-frame replicate of the first movie), it follows a similar pattern: Doug gets kidnapped and Phil, Stu and Alan have to get him back. Though this time, the Wolfpack have their memories in tact (perhaps writers Craig Mazin and Todd Phillips finally realized that there were only so many times the company could get drugged).

Advertised as Alan’s “happily ever after,” the movie begins with a funeral rather than a wedding. Alan’s dad (Jeffrey Tambor) died and Alan promises to ween off drugs if Phil, Stu and Doug join him in rehab. But on their drive from LA to Arizona, Doug gets kidnapped by Marshall (John Goodman), who has some beef with Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), the Asian criminal mastermind infamous for his catchphrase, “Too-da-loo, Motherfucker.”

Because Alan kept in contact with Mr. Chow before he escaped from prison, Marshall figures the Wolfpack could to retrieve Chow. So reluctantly, Phil, Stu and Alan return to Sin City where they reunite with cops, Stu’s stripper ex-wife, Caesar’s Palace and the baby Carlos/Tyler.

Although its chock full of recycled gags (which include drugging animals and body altercation), at least “Hangover III” tries to disguise itself as something different. The boys seemed to have grown up. For one, Stu doesn’t lose a tooth or get branded with a Mike Tyson tattoo. And we don’t see any pictures of it. The three  don’t wake up with a baby, tiger or small chimp in their room. And they don’t even suffer from any black-out inducing drugs. Or at least that isn’t part of the central plot of the film.

This film is about Alan, the eccentric man-child, who seems to finally possess social finesse, pulling Cassie (Melissa McCarthy), a female replica of himself. Galifiankis and McMarthy’s mating ritual ranges from strange to hilarious.

And there is a wedding. (After all, it wouldn’t be a comedy without one.) But the best parts of Todd Phillips’ third installment? We don’t see the bachelor party and we know there’s no more sequels.

“Hangover Part III” was directed by Todd Phillips and written by Phillips and Craig Mazin. 

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