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The Hangover Part III

Hangover part III

Die Die Die you evil bastards

dir: Todd Phillips

The posters said that. The posters promised that. It’s the only thing the posters said other than that there was a film coming out called The Hangover Part III.

The Hangover Part III. The End.

It’s a weird angle to promote a movie with, I thought, before I watched this. Were they saying ‘come watch this movie because it’s the last one in the series, and it’s your last chance to see these rascals in action”, or were they saying “come and watch this flick, or else we’ll make more of them”?

The truth is something I’m never going to know. They might make more of these if this one makes enough money. The first one made more money than Gone with the Wind. The first one probably hit a nerve, a funny nerve, and amused a lot of people.

I’m not sure what this third one is meant to do. It seems inaccurate to call it a comedy, and there’s no hangover involved, no blackout as a tribute to overindulgence, no gingerly picking-up of pieces to solve a problem or save someone’s life/reputation/marriage/colon.

It wouldn’t need to conform to that formula to have been an entertaining film. The formula itself wasn’t really the draw, I don’t think. The real draw was the premise, of a couple of guys (and one complete lunatic), in over their heads, unable to remember what had happened to them, trying to resolve some seemingly impossible situation.

The second one kind of mutated the formula so that it also became a film about the same bunch of fuckheads finding themselves in dangerous circumstances trying to resolve an impossible situation, but also threw into the mix the idea that there lurks within the hearts of even normal so-called men a demon which compels them towards horror because it’s just there, and why not?

Of course, the way this was depicted was by having seemingly ‘normal’ Stu indulge in hardcore sex with a Thai ladyboy where he was on the receiving end, so to speak, and its purpose as a gag was aiming more for gay panic-type discomfort in the audience. His speech, at the end of the flick, though, has stuck with me, to this day, and I always thought it was an interesting road to travel down in an otherwise disposable comedy universe.

All three of the films point to the chaos that could go on in someone’s life no matter how ‘good’ or straitlaced they might be if they just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Only two of them are really comedies, and I’m not going to argue their merits or not, but for a comedy, Hangover III is pretty muted.

It’s also not that funny. Zach Galifianakis might be a funny guy, and I know he’s a funny comedian, but there’s barely a single funny thing he says or does as this appalling character Alan. Maybe he was just funnier in the first two films, maybe they gave him better material then, or he improvised better, but here he’s all discomforting and painful, almost none of his gags come off, and, unless I’m mistaken, they’re outright implying that he is a somewhat brain damaged child molester?

The flick opens with what could have been a funny gag, or the funniest gag in the flick, with a giraffe being decapitated by Alan’s gross stupidity. It’s not really funny at all, but it’s meant to start the flick on a somewhat transgressive note that the rest of the flick doesn’t aspire to. The story that transpires from here is that it becomes somewhat obvious only now to the characters in the flick that Alan is a fucking idiot who should probably be institutionalised.

In the process of trying to get him to some facility in Arizona, they get drawn into Adventures that have to do with Chow (Ken Jeong), a drug abusing bisexual supercriminal who escapes from a Thai jail to make his way back to the States. Yes, it’s the same annoying character from the first two flicks, only moreso.

Chow’s friendship with Alan somehow results in some other criminal (John Goodman, being paid in hamburgers for his troubles, it seems) enlisting them to get Chow, since he stole a bunch of gold or something equally asinine.

It’s mostly an action-crime kind of flick, really, with a group of characters who have no place in such a flick going through all those motions like they have to for their paycheck. It’s kinda sad really, and even if it’s not that sad, it certainly isn’t that funny.

There’s only one part of the flick that made me laugh, and that was at the very end of the flick after the credits started rolling, which is really about the only part of the flick that felt like a Hangover movie. It also belies the attitude of the flick that anything will ever improve or change, for them or us.

It's not entirely a bad thing (that it's the high point of the flick, occurring after it has ostensibly ended). One minute of fucked up screen time made up for the lack of it prior, but it also reminded us that what we didn't think we wanted, we really wanted, despite what we think of as our relative maturity and classiness.

I never wanted these characters to mature, to grow, to have character arcs, to have aspirations, dreams, feelings, thoughts. I wouldn't have cared if they'd all died in hellish explosions, a hail of gunfire or from violent food poisoning. Who cared about Chow's character enough to want him redeemed (not that they go anywhere near that, since he's nastier and more murderous than in the other flicks). Who thought that the despicable Alan could ever be redeemed or saved, and who wanted that to happen?

I think the people making this flick probably know that, but they clearly had no more intricate idea as to what the third version of their shenanigans should be than anyone else did. That it needed to exist to generate income I understand. That it needed to be this film I don't understand.

It's not funny. You might be mildly curious about what's going to happen, but nothing that happens is really that funny - or interesting - or horrifying - or even mildly diverting.

It's all practical and functional, like watching a patio being constructed. I can see the screenwriter sitting around thinking "well, I've run out of ideas, how about 'the Wolfpack are going to Mexico!'" and then "well, let's get the Wolfpack back to Vegas!" and having absolutely no idea why any of these things should be done, or why they would be funny, other than that they have to be funny because...

Scratch that, the funniest thing is that the actors, as well as the characters, know all this. They don't want to be here, playing these characters. They've got other stuff to go on to, they've been in some decent films, they've got some money now. There's this pervasive stink of not wanting to be there, and wanting it to be over soon, gods, let this scene end so I can go back to getting nominated for Oscars playing mentally ill people but in quality dramas.

It's a sad experience, it's a film that filled me with sadness. If that was their intention, then they succeeded. It might have been the plan, but how likely is that? These movies are meant to make people laugh, almost in spite of themselves. I couldn't have laughed at 99% of this with happy gas, Percodan or an epidural in my system.

Avoid. There's no good reason for it to exist. They know it, we know it, the universe knows it.

4 times that Alan character needs to be murdered repeatedly in any sequel like Kenny from South Park out of 10

"They should burn this place to the ground" - no arguments there - The Hangover Part III