THE HANGOVER III (2013)
|The Wolfpack...or something like it.|
Here's the thing. I've been a pretty big fuck-it fan of the Hangover series. Why? Because they're shameless, predictable, and usually come hand-in-hand with a good soundtrack and a couple memorable one-liners. The Hangover had a tight script, it knew what it was, and it owned it's insane ridiculousness. The Hangover II was a little less tight, a little less laugh-out-loud, but I stood by it because, hey. It's a bro-comedy about bachelor parties gone wrong. How seriously can you really take that shit, right?
Well. Apparently, very seriously. In Todd Phillips' final installment of the Hangover trilogy, I have finally run out of redeeming things to say about it. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed it. Because, at the heart of it, I have a soft spot for the series and a soft spot for the characters. If you right fun characters and hook me in, I'm there. The Wolfpack (and Doug) are just fun to watch in action. Nine times out of ten, you get the feeling that, deep down, they're all bros in some way or another. Even (and maybe even especially) when they laugh at each other's misfortunes and pull terrible pranks on one another.
|Image from Huff Post.|
However, the Hangover III forgot the main draw of the films. The bromance. The Wolfpack. Instead, it focused more heavily on the gimmicky characters. But the problem with gimmicky characters is that they're only funny because they're explosive side-characters. When you devote a whole movie to Leslie Chow...well. Yeah, we liked it, but not that much.
If I had to pick one main character out of the entire series, I'd probably put my money on Stu. He's the one who always seems to have the major challenge to overcome, start to finish. He always goes through the most noteworthy "journey," where all the other characters are, more or less, just trying to get to the wedding on time. In Hangover III, however, Stu was basically nonexistent. He popped up now and then to deliver a couple one-liners that were repeated throughout the series, but that was it. He had approximately zero screen time. Phil, who often took the "leader" role, was also sectioned off to the sidelines. Instead, we handed the movie over to Alan and Chow. First mistake.
To top off an already bad move, this wasn't even the same warm and well-intentioned Alan we'd grown to love from the first film. Instead, this Alan was mean, aggressive, and a little more sociopathic. Maybe the failed bachelor parties just hardened him into a bitter, angry man. Maybe he's worked so hard at impersonating Phil that he's got the callousness down to a T. I don't really know what was going on, all I know is that I was not a fan of Alan 3.0.
|My overall experience of Alan in the last movie.|
But evil!Alan was, more or less, the epitome of everything that was wrong in Hangover III. Here's the thing: I wouldn't be bashing this movie if it just let itself be a bad movie. I had problems with Hangover II, but I let most them go. Because it presented itself as a shameless repeat of the first one. It said, "Hey, we know what you came here for, so here it is, word-for-word." A cheap move on Todd's part, but as I'm a big fan of unapologetic shamelessness, I could appreciate it for what it was. Hangover III, on the other hand, tried too hard to be a good movie. I could see it trying. But, at the end of the day, it was like watching Sam Worthington try to pull off an accent. Painfully obvious and, ultimately, a waste of time.
I don't want to end this on a completely sour note. Because the thing is, shit. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed The Wolfpack. I enjoyed their antics and one-liners. I enjoyed the movie, overall. But at the end of the day, it took the series to a place it didn't need to go. I never thought I'd say this about John Goodman, because I love that man, but his character pretty much fucked up the whole movie. You know something's wrong when too many people die in what was supposed to be a shameless comedy, including the dogs. I enjoy excessive violence, but there's a movie for that and this is not it. I will say this, however: for people who enjoyed the series throughout (or at least enough to stick to it), this entire movie might have just been worth it for the ending credits scene. That last couple minutes was what I needed to see for the entire of the movie. End credits is where it's at.