Trilogies usually lose steam by the third part. Very few, such as The Dark Knight Rises, have been able to end giving you a sense of finality and satisfaction.
And we walked into Hangover Part III with very little expectations, especially since the second part was more of a remake of the first film than a sequel.
Director Todd Phillips probably knew what he had done wrong even before Hangover Part II was out, and did reveal back then that if there would be a third part, it wouldn't follow the “template” of the first two films and would be more of an ending. If you were aware of that, you would go with an open mind. Else, you would wait for the Wolfpack to get drunk and lose their memory and then crib “How is it a Hangover movie if they are not getting wasted? Worst sequel ever.”
I, for one, didn't want to watch one more remake of the first Hangover. So it came as a pleasant surprise that the new film is bloody unpredictable, of course, within the trappings of the genre. We know they will all be fine eventually, since it’s a comedy but the darkness explored here is sheer genius. The new film pushes irreverence over the edge, right from when Alan (Zach Galifianakis) gets a giraffe... Well, watch.
There is no wedding this time around. Alan’s mental health seems to be deteriorating. We always knew he had issues. The first two films never addressed them. Alan’s childish insanity (fuelled by his friendship with the wickedly crazy gangster Leslie Chow) has been at the core of the Hangover movies. Every time Chow makes an appearance, all hell breaks loose. As the villain of the piece Marshall (John Goodman) sums it up for us: “Chow is insanity.”
The Hangover movies have been a celebration of that insanity that rescues us from the routine boredom of life and systems. And the specifics of what exactly happened is only told to us (or shown as pictures during the end credits) as the Wolfpack — Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach) and Doug (Justin Bartha) — pieces together the mystery of the missing friend with only the crazy remnants of the night as clues as they discover that deep inside... they are beasts.
Hence, the new end of the trilogy simply HAD to be about taming of that beast. Or ridding themselves of the insanity. Growing up. Which meant that they had to do all of it completely sober, minus the template. Can Alan Garner actually be cured? Can Leslie Chow be contained?
Part Three is an Alan and Chow show all the way. They have the best lines, and Galifianakis and Jeong knock it out of the park, ably supported by Cooper and Helms, in this all out, no-holds-barred exploration of hell-breaking-loose madness.
There is not a single dull moment in this laugh riot that will make all kinds of activists — animal, child, LGBT, mental health, women — take offence. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Oh, we are so going to miss the Wolfpack.
(Tip: Don’t walk out the moment the end credits appear, stay for a bit!)
Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, John Goodman, Heather Graham
Storyline: After Leslie Chow escapes from prison, his nemesis Marshall takes Doug captive and gives the Wolfpack three days to find Chow
Bottomline: Best. Ending. Ever