The dictionary defines a hangover as “ill effects caused by drinking an excess of alcohol” or “a thing that has survived from the past”. In the case of The Hangover Part III, it’s the latter.
The franchise repeated itself in 2011 with a formulaic Bangkok sequel, so deserves some credit for dipping into new territory: this time, there isn’t even a hangover. It also isn’t much of a comedy. Aside from some early Zach Galifianakis moments, The Hangover Part III is an eerily self-serious heist thriller – albeit one so contrived and mean-spirited, it’s hard to root for anyone.
Once again, the gang (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and the other guy who no one remembers) stumble into a confrontation with a criminal. On this occasion, it’s John Goodman in extra shouty mode, barking some very prosaic exposition. Cooper, Helms and Galifianakis have to locate Ken Jeong and return Goodman’s stolen gold. Sounds like fun? You’re wrong.
The most memorable punchlines (although I hesitate to call them that) involve a decapitated giraffe, unexplained nudity, and words mispronounced in an Asian dialect. Cooper and Helms have the thankless task of delivering reaction shots and slow line deliveries that re-explain the plot. To paraphrase The Great Gatsby, the cast’s voices sound like money.
For a “bromance”, there’s very little camaraderie between the leads, and ends the trilogy with a sour taste. All their journeys, those scuttles surviving death, and for what? To end with moronic slapstick? The chemistry is meant to be on the screen, but I felt a closer affinity with the unimpressed cinema-goers sat next to me.