The Hangover movies have been remarkably popular, and it’s not hard to understand why.
They’ve shown a willingness, even an enthusiasm, for pushing the envelope when it comes to outrageousness.
And they’ve provided a great showcase for some talented, uninhibited comic performers, primarily Zach Galifianakis, making the most of the juicy role of the perpetually awkward and inappropriate Alan.
But while it can be important for a comedy to have both wild and wacky situations and characters that one can relate to and even care about, I have to wonder: does anyone really care about the Hangover bros all that much?
Or do we just want to see them make a bunch of bad decisions under the influence of mind-altering, memory-wiping substances and then frantically try to piece together the shambles of the night before?
With The Hangover Part III, it appears it’s the former.
Apparently we’re supposed to have embraced Alan and his ‘Wolfpack’ buddies Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms) to our hearts over the course of these movies.
So when they find themselves in peril at the hands of belligerent crime boss Marshall (John Goodman, phoning it in), who’s been ripped off by unofficial Wolfpacker Mr Chow (Ken Jeong), the stakes are seemingly raised.
It’s not just drunken, druggy shenanigans anymore; it’s life or death.
And as I watched Part III unfold, my main reaction was ‘Yeah, so?’
That said, the disinterest I felt watching this movie seemed to be mirrored by what was happening onscreen.
Cooper and Helms go through the motions professionally but one can almost feel them watching the clock, waiting for the opportunity to get this over with and move on to something new.
And while Galifianakis still puts plenty of effort into making Alan a walking bundle of weirdness, it’s easy to get the impression there’s not much left in his bag of tricks as far as this character is concerned.
There’s the occasional fun moment here but The Hangover Part III seems more into wrapping up what it mistakenly views as an epic trilogy than making its audience laugh.
As a result, it’s not so much a celebration as…well, an obligation. Disappointing, really.