Review: Hangover III (Ready for Rehab)

The Hangover: Part III

Todd Phillips and the Wolfpack (Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis) are officially done getting hung over. Since they began, their exploits have gone from dangerous to defeated and at this point they’re ready to be done.

The characters act fatigued by their hijinks (old and new) and the script groans with every plot twist and sighs with every joke. Are the consequences of their arrested development strangling their efforts at adulthood? Or are they just acting like any “regular joes” would if they were dragged through this criminal underworld crap again? Wow, they all wish they’d never met Chow (Ken Jeong) and again they're going through hell to recover Doug (Jason Bartha), but what’s really dogging them seems to be a lack of chemistry.

In the first Hangover Galifianakis owned it, with his needy, beseeching rufi dropper, Alan. In the second (a far weaker installment) he had Teddy (Mason Lee) and a monkey to play off of. Here, he’s alone, barely insulting Stu or idolizing Phil. He has one opportunity with an stalled intervention in which he’s a dick to his newly widowed mother and their maid, but even his budding love intrigue with Mellissa McCarthy is predictable oddness.

The absence of his bad judgment and vibrantly misguided longing is deeply felt. Also, the wolfpack are no longer bad boys penalized for fun they took too far; now they’re good boys hijacked by a criminal (John Goodman) en route to their penance (rehab).

This movie knows very well it’s from a beloved franchise, but what it doesn’t know is why. Maybe that’s what makes the tiny montage of glory moments from the first two Hangover films poignant—we’re not sad to see the Wolfpack go, we’re sad they were so troubled to entertain us here in the first place.

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