With the first two installments taking north of a billion dollars worldwide, it was inevitable that we’d find ourselves subjected to a third chapter of this worryingly popular series. Mercifully, this one is being touted as the end of the saga, but it still feels like a bum deal from a franchise which all but ran out of speed 45 minutes into its first film.
And yet here we are again; the gangs all here. All four members of The Wolfpack, plus the interminable Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), are back for one last hurrah, to cut a swathe of destruction through Las Vegas; aren’t we lucky?
Alan (Zach Galifianakis), after causing untold giraffe-based destruction on the motorway, is persuaded by his friends to check himself into rehab, in order to get himself back on the straight and narrow. Alan agrees, but only if the other three members of The Wolfpack: Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) agree to escort him personally.
En route, the foursome is attacked by Marshall (John Goodman), an irate gangster who forcibly tasks the boys with tracking down the foul-mouthed Chow and the millions of dollars stolen from him by the diminutive criminal. Unsurprisingly, Doug is held as collateral while the threesome of Alan, Phil and Stu set forth on their mission to find Chow, get Marshall’s money and save their friend.
And so they get down to business with a maximum of fuss: falling off casino roofs, racing limousines down the Las Vegas Strip, innapropriately groping pregnant ladies, and so forth in that fashion until some 100 minutes later we’re at last treated to a final, parting gag of any real ingenuity.
Certainly, there are some modest guffaws to be found within the first half hour of this third installment, but much like it’s predecessors, The Hangover Part 3 settles into a mirthless rhythm of innefectual crime capery, and faux sentimentality far too quickly.
Galifianakis is pretty much always a welcome sight as the bedraggled man-child Alan, but Cooper and Helms both sleepwalk their way through a script that’s unforgiveably low on humour, but presumably provided them both with some fairly hilarious remuneration. Not that they should worry much, as for much of the time the film is at pains to tear its loving glance away from the grating, screeching, sexually ambiguous Chow. A character of unfathomable popularity yet who appears to have blossomed into the ugly centrepiece of a now witless franchise.
You may well be tantalised by the sparsely impressive tagline which proudly proclaims “the end”. But you’ll just as likely be left muttering: “and about time too”.
Release Date: 23rd May 2013 (UK)
Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, John Goodman