With The Hangover Part III, fans of The Hangover series will get to see one more misadventure concerning Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) in a script by Todd Phillips and Craig Mazin that returns to the lingering consequences of the Wolfpack’s original Vegas vacation while largely ignoring the events of The Hangover Part II. (In fact, other than a cameo by Jamie Chung as Stu’s wife and one or two quick mentions of the trip to Bangkok, the events of the second film are completely ignored.) The result is an adequate final chapter hell-bent on providing audiences with its share of both laughs and groans.
On the plus side the series breaks from tradition by giving us a new story rather than simply recycle the same storyline used in both the first two films involving the threesome slowly piecing together events from a hazy night while searching for a missing friend. Once again Doug (Justin Bartha) is left out of most of the chicanery as the trio are forced by a pissed of Vegas mogul (John Goodman) to find Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) and the millions in gold bricks the maniac stole from him during the threesome’s original trip to Vegas.
Other familiar faces return including Heather Graham as the stripper Stu marries in the first film, Mike Epps as Black Doug, and Jeffrey Tambor as Alan’s father whose death begins the film and puts the Wolfpack on the road in an attempt to help Alan get the psychiatric help he’s been needing for so long. Along the way we’ll also get the death of a giraffe, a heist, ill-conceived plans that leave one of the members of the Wolfpack hanging on for dear life high above the Vegas strip, and plenty of opportunities for Galifianakis to showcase his dickish humor.
The film, more so than either of the first two movies, really is centered around Galifianakis’ character of Alan. Cooper, and especially Helms, are mainly going through the motions here, but the larger-than-life co-star provides most of the film’s best jokes (and, to be fair, quite a few that fall flat). Melissa McCarthy has a small role as a Vegas pawn shop owner who may well be Alan’s soul mate. That, meeting the young kid he once named mistakenly named Carlos, and Alan’s evolving relationship with Chow over the course of the film, help the character finally grow in a way that none of the other characters really do over the course of the franchise.
Although it’s better than the last film, The Hangover Part III certainly isn’t a flick you need to rush out and see in theaters. In fact the fun, but somewhat lackluster, final entry to the franchise will probably work best on home video for fans who love the first film (and were also willing to give the second one a pass). It may not let the characters go out in style, but it offers some laughs along the way while wrapping up the storylines of the Wolfpack and (hopefully) finally teaching our characters the lesson of why the should never, ever, return to Las Vegas.