Mixed bag for third Hangover film

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The third time might not be the charm when it comes to The Hangover series, but you’ll end up watching it regardless.

Though the film is not without its fair share of laughs, don’t expect more than a somewhat jaded Wolf-pack experience. Whereas the plots of The Hangover Parts I and II could be satisfactorily summed up in one sentence, Part III gives us more substance to the 100 minutes of ridiculousness. We’re thankful that the third edition didn’t fit the “_____ goes missing after getting drugged and Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) have to find him before _______” model, but instead we get a far from plausible dilemma in which the three amigos have to go to hell (in the form of Las Vegas) and back to save the day. But let’s be real here: no one’s going to see The Hangover Part III for the rich plot or conviction of the story.

The end to this record-breaking trilogy is surprisingly darker and more aggressive than its predecessors, shockingly featuring more scenes of death than the human anatomy that was so popular in the first two films. Don’t get me wrong; you still wouldn’t want to watch this next to your grandmother, but the vulgar slapstick comedy that has become so synonymous with the franchise just seems to be lacking, or forced at best. Humor that once caused the theater to erupt in laughter has been replaced with one too many jokes about apps on Alan’s smartphone. Of course there are still those moments where the entire crowd is in uproar, including the standard scene after the credits, so be sure not to miss that.

The Hangover Part III features some fan-favorites from the previous films, including the raunchy and unpredictable Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), the international criminal who was last seen arrested in Bangkok. But what exactly made Chow such a memorable addition to the first two films? Was it his sidesplitting one-liners? Perhaps it was his outlandish stunts? For sure it wasn’t his heavy role in the plot or his excessive screen time. Unfortunately the writers of Part III took Chow and milked the laughs out of him, leaving us with a less-than-likeable rendition of what was once an icon of Hangover humor. Other favorites include Jade the stripper, her baby Carlos, and, who could forget, Black Doug.

The final minutes of Part III will leave every Hangover fan with bittersweet sentiments. Bitter because we will never be able to see these characters again in a new story, but sweet for exactly the same reason. For fans of the first two movies, or even for fans of the first movie who were left disappointed after the second, this movie is a must-watch. There is no doubt that if you laughed during the first two then you will enjoy this one, but don’t go in expecting a film at par with the original.

The Hangover Part III is rated R for profane language, violence, drug content, and brief graphic nudity. Shocking.