The Hangover Part III

The first two Hangover movies were so completely devoid of laughs that I can’t think of a single movie I’d recommend either of them over. I laughed precisely once in each of them, and that came from the cameo turned in by former boxer Mike Tyson. His appearance at least brightened things up. It was better than watching three unlikable and underdeveloped losers trudge through a meaningless plot while trying to be funny and failing. If this is truly the last Hangover film — please, almighty God, let it be the last one — I could not be happier.

I’ll give the filmmakers credit for doing one thing right and one thing wrong with this outing. The good idea they had was to switch up the plot. Many people disliked the second film not because it wasn’t funny, but because it was a re-tread of the first film. This time around, the “hangover” gimmick isn’t even used. The overall plot just takes its three characters to various locations doing random activities in order to save their skin. Wait a second. That actually doesn’t sound different at all. I take back that earlier praise.

The further issue I had this time around — apart from the plot, characters, complete lack of laughs, general idea, performances, look, etc. — was that they removed the only thing I was looking forward to. There is no Mike Tyson in The Hangover Part III. I sat through almost two hours — including the credits — and Tyson did not show up. He was the sole point of laughter and now he was gone. I didn’t think these movies could get worse — the first two were easy 0/10 films — but somehow Part III has. There isn’t a single laugh to be found.

In case you care — because somehow you’ve become invested in the “Wolfpack,” or maybe you’re more of a movie masochist than I am — the plot goes something like this. Alan (Zach Galifianakis) is going into rehab because apparently manchilditis can be fixed with an Arizona resort. The other Wolfpack members are taking him. They include the straight man, Phil (Bradley Cooper), the nerd-who-has-an-Asian-wife-because-that’s-not-stereotypical-at-all dentist, Stu (Ed Helms), and the guy who must be hated by the writers, Doug (Justin Bertha). They won’t make it to Arizona.

They get rammed off the road and told by evil man Marshall (John Goodman) that their old friend Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) stole millions of dollars in gold bars. Marshall kidnaps Doug, because it has to be Doug, and tells the other three that they need to find and capture Chow in the next three days or Doug will bite the bullet.

Are you laughing yet? Doesn’t that plot seem like it will be a barrel of laughs? Who doesn’t love to see these three characters on yet another aimless plot in which they have to find someone or risk severe consequences, all while making “jokes” and having “hilarious” things happen to them? Please tell me you’re tired of this by now. You have presumably already sat through two of these and this one isn’t any different. Save your time and money and see something else — anything else will be better than a Hangover movie.

Actually, there is another difference between this film and the other two: it’s not at all risky. You know how the last two films had some edgy subject matter which sometimes made you question how it managed to keep an R rating? Apart from profanity and a post-credits scene, this could have been PG-13. That’s right. Don’t include the post-credit scene and remove all the F-bombs, and no other alterations would have to be made in order for it to be PG-13. That has to be disappointing even for the staunchest defenders of the Hangover franchise.

Speaking of that post-credits scene, if this is truly meant to be the end of the series, what good does it do to tease at further installments? Yes, the post-credits scene does precisely that, delivering what essentially amounts to an “opening” of a fourth movie. There is nowhere to go, no reason to do more (except greed), and The Hangover franchise has been a colossal failure from start to finish. Find the first one funny if you like; I can’t stand it or its sequels.

In fact, now that the trilogy has reached an end, we can start placing it in the canon of movie trilogies. Where does it sit among the other series with three installments? In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, I put it right at the bottom. Its best moment can’t even reach the very worst of, say, Uwe Boll’s BloodRayne trilogy. I don’t think I can make my disdain for The Hangover any more clear than that. It is pure and utter garbage.

With the last energy left in my body after having all the rest of it sucked out of me by three of the worst films to grace theatrical screens in the history of the medium, I would just like to be granted a simple wish. That wish is this: Let the Hangover franchise die for good. No reboots. No sequels. No spinoffs — you all know a Leslie Chow spinoff was talked about; don’t act like I’m talking crazy. No nothing. Just let it be done. We can bury all the copies that exist on Earth, preserving only the masters so that we can be reminded never to make such an unfunny and unenjoyable series of movies again.

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