In response, for this summer's The Hangover Part III, director Todd Phillips and the gang did something totally different. Complained the multiplex populace, "It's not enough like the first one!"
America, you fickle, fickle bastard. What's funny about the whole thing is that both sequels are, well, funny. Yet The Hangover Part III just can't win. Adding insult to injury, its box-office prospects were demolished by the sixth model of The Fast and the Furious franchise, which plays things even safer. With home video is the great equalizer, I feel certain Warner Bros.' Blu-ray represents the first step in The Hangover Part III's redemption.
Essentially, that's what this final chapter is all about: making amends. After 42-year-old man-child Alan (Zach Galifianakis, The Campaign) inadvertently causes his father to succumb to a fatal heart attack, a stint in rehab is in order for Alan to regain some order. You can guess who drives him there: his "wolf pack" buddies Phil (Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook), Stu (Ed Helms, We're the Millers) and bro-in-law Doug (Justin Bartha, National Treasure: Book of Secrets). After all, something has to get the band back together so mayhem may ensue.
It does before they can reach their destination, in the form of crime lord Marshall (John Goodman, Argo) seeking filthy felon Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong, TV's Community), who's robbed him to the tune of $21 million in gold bars. If the boys don't locate Chow ASAP, Marshall will kill Doug.
If that sounds like a too-convenient premise, two things:
1. Yeah, of course it is!
2. Just wait until the wolf pack runs into old pals like hooker Jade (Heather Graham) and Black Doug (Mike Epps). They're sandwiched in more than a dollop of Hellmann's.
That's OK with me, for one reason and one reason only: It's a damn funny movie, thanks to the greater focus on Galifianakis, rather than the ensemble. (Post-movie, fans of Galifianakis should proceed directly to the Blu-ray's outtakes.) I simply don't get all the criticism railed against this one, because I laughed, both loud and often.
Perhaps the humor in this trilogy capper is just too dark? Before the opening credits even hit, Phillips has thrown two deaths our way arguably too grim for the average viewer, even if one of those ends is a giraffe who literally loses his head.
And speaking of losing it, tucked within the end credits is an epilogue that may contain the series' biggest, most satisfying gag of all. And it has nothing to do with Polaroids. Rod Lott
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