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The Hangover III and The Dreaded Trilogy

May 27, 2013

The Hangover 3 movie poster


There is a moment at the end of  The Hangover III when it flashes back to the first film and shows  the Wolfpack looking young, a bit pudgy and on the verge of stardom. There was something charming about these four guys who indulge in all forms of debauchery while staying sweetly loyal to each other. The friendship and hazy recollection won over the populace earned $467 million worldwide. The men became stars, wolfpack shirts were sold and blue blockers were popular again. People loved Hangover so much they flocked to the sequel ($85 million opening weekend). However, it followed the rules of sequels by being bigger, dumber and more of the same (They cut and pasted the original script in Thailand). A trilogy was inevitable and The Hangover III was dumped in the theaters this weekend.

Critics (21% RT) and audiences ($44 million opening weekend) have not been nice to the film. This should come as no surprise to cinema goers who understand the rules of trilogies. The final installment of the Hangover series is essentially the same as Matrix Revolutions, Little Fockers, Blade: Trinity, X-Men The Last Stand, Jaws 3D, Spider Man 3, and Men in Black 3The first film was a sleeper hit, the second film made tons of money and the third was just really weird and messed with the familiarity by going too far in the other direction.

Hangover 3 rooster


There is nothing new about this film even as it switches gears. It changes up the hungover mystery while bringing back old characters. The story centers around the Wolfpack being tasked to find Mr. Chow who is out of prison and holding $21 million in gold bars. If they do not succeed Doug (Justin Bartha) will be shot in the face by big baddie John Goodman. The trio travel to tijuana and Las Vegas while doing drugs, killing animals and talking a lot of sh** to each other. My favorite moment of H3 is a downer delight when Chow sings Hurt (I love the Johnny Cash cover) by the Nine Inch Nails in a Tijuana karaoke bar. It is strange, momentum killing and very random.

The biggest flaw of the third Hangover is that it forgets what made the first film so likable (Wolfpack speech, sense of family, funny moments). There is zero sweetness or likable moments among the sweat, blood and dirt. Director Todd Phillips made his name by making raunchy albeit nice films about male bonding. Road Trip, Starsky and Hutch, Old School and The Hangover featured male characters who bond, talk dirty and become better friends. They all received decent critical reception (Fresh 65%) and went on to make lots of money and have long lives on DVD. Phillips other films School for Scoundrels, Hangover 2, Due Date and Hangover 3 were nasty little things featuring angry characters, selfish motives and more nastiness. These four film were not well received (30% RT) and made money due to the big names stars (Robert Downey Jr.) or prior installment momentum.

While watching H3 I kept thinking about Silver Linings Playbook, Cedar Rapids, Community, Out Cold and the scene from the upcoming comedy We’re the Millers where Ed Helm’s orca eats a dolphin. The cast and crew can do much better and it is a shame that the finale to a beloved film felt so lazy and nasty.

Go ahead and watch The Hangover 3. If you’ve watched the first two you might as well close out the series. Stay after the credits to see what the fourth film would have looked like.

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