Zero stars out of 4.
The success of the Hangover pictures is built entirely on the premise of seeing the members of the “Wolfpack” find themselves in the weirdest and deepest of hot water while attempting to find their way back to reality. In the first sequel this involved running through Bangkok in a textbook exercise of mimicking a hit first film to the letter minus any character development. Thankfully for this third installment a new direction was established…or perhaps I’m getting too far ahead of myself.
Hangover 3 resembles not the earlier pictures or a narrative at all. What Hangover 3 is instead of a series of increasingly debaucherous mishaps is merely the beginnings of a narrative first act. This is one of the biggest doses of filler to come out of a studio in some time. What the film resembles is a contractually obligated sequel where those involved were out of ideas and did not want to return. So they decide to shake things up after the criticism over repeating themselves.
The problem is that they had nothing to go on. The story has our protagonists come under the thumb of a cartoonish drug lord (John Goodman) who kidnaps the always kidnapped Doug (Justin Bartha) in exchange for the Wolfpack finding the ever snakelike Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong). What follows is a long uneventful series of setups with no payoff whatsoever. The entire premise of this franchise that should have never been is the mishaps that occur after one long and beyond rowdy night of partying. That is the reason why the audience shells out the money for admission. And instead of giving them what they want or truly doing something different, Hangover 3 merely does nothing.
This is a dark comedy that forgets to include either the darkness or the comedy. Nor is there any real drama or characterization beyond the names and faces. What is additionally off-putting is that the overall tone is extremely mean without any context. The first two pictures had their moments of tension but this sequel seems to want to go down a darker path, yet leaves out any reason or meaning for doing so. If one were to remove all of the instances where variations of the most used phrase “What the f***?” are uttered, this already overlong 100 minute waste would be a far more manageable ten minutes if even that long.
There is only one standout sequence, and a horribly short one at that. The boys have discovered Mr. Chow is hiding in the penthouse suite atop Caesar’s Palace and devise an insanely stupid plan to break in via bedsheet rope from the roof. The sequence is executed with enough thought to actually invoke some participation from one’s mind which has been on bored autopilot up to this point, and give some more than badly needed characterization to people we no longer give a damn about. Once inside there is some energy to the editing which lasts for all of 30 seconds and then we descend back into stupid pointless zone for the rest of this beyond tired exercise. (While managing to waste the usage of what may be the best ever Black Sabbath song. )
You would find it hard for a sequel to be any more tasteless or dumb than Hangover 2, but Hangover 3 manages to accomplish this goal by the simplest means possible. There is no inspiration in any shot of this waste of an hour and forty minutes of one’s life.
As if to make up for this, a small coda is inserted into the credits. This of course is the obligatory scene of the guys waking up hungover in a room full of weird articles, things on or done to themselves and struggling to stand up. And so, Hangover 3 begins and ends in the end credits. The film essentially is two minutes long with a 95 minute tediously dull setup.
Why bother? Supposedly this is the final film, but the mere franchise name will guarantee enough box office returns for a sequel. Hopefully by that time they may have come up with something, but at that point who will still care?