In the first twenty minutes of The Hangover Part III, the third and (hopefully) final installment of the franchise, highly-flawed yet lovable Alan gets an intervention. Unemployed and living at home at 42, he's beyond too old to mooch off his family, but not even the fatal heart attack of his father, which he seemingly brought about by purchasing a giraffe and making national news for accidentally beheading the animal on a freeway, can show Alan what a terror he is to himself and everyone around him.
Phil, Stu, Doug, and Alan's immediate family members say he has to go to a treatment center to shape up, and he starts to cry in a loud, painfully awkward, and even disturbing manner that not even the audience can laugh at. Alan is a total mess, but the ironic part is that The Hangover III, and the Hangover franchise in general, is in the same boat: in desperate need of an intervention. How it got to this point, I don't know, but this has got to stop.
Many were disappointed with the 2011 sequel to The Hangover, so it's not too surprising that the third time was not, in fact, the charm. Not only does it inspire fewer than a handful of laughs, but creates several moments of physical and emotional discomfort. In the first five minutes, a giraffe is beheaded on the road thanks to Alan's careless decision to transport him below a low-rise freeway. Am I crazy for not thinking this is funny?
Moments later, Alan's dad dies from a heart attack, which was absolutely influenced by the anxiety of parenting a useless, dependent, dim-witted son like Alan. We see roosters thrown out the window and Mr. Chow suffocates one beneath a pillow. He goes on to verbally abuse and snap the necks of two guard dogs, and all of this takes place before we watch someone fall into a pool from a fatal gunshot wound. The Hangover is supposed to be funny, not scary violent and awful toward animals. The tiger is drugged, not murdered, in The Hangover, and the monkey is Alan's friend in the sequel.
The actors seem to realize the once thriving brand has been destroyed by follow-ups. Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms look embarrassed to even be doing this project, even though they hold up their roles as well as they could. Stu has calmed down and increased his cool factor since the first film release. Phil is still the leader, but less judgmental, not simply because Alan has grown on him. Bradley Cooper seems genuinely tired, as if this franchise has sucked everything out of him and he has nothing left to give. As to be expected, Zach Galifianakis is wonderful as clueless Alan and the best part of the film, but not even his amusing antics can save this trainwreck.
That's not to say there aren't a few cute scenes. Melissa McCarthy is a pleasant surprise as a pawn shop worker who finds Alan's weirdness and parental disrespect endearing. The film, which breaks away from its first two installments by ditching the wild party storyline, has more subtle jokes this time around. At the funeral, Alan takes a selfie next to his dad's framed memorial photo, and that's before digging his father's grave.
Alan is sassier as well, going after Stu a little more than usual. Some of the bickering between the two is entertaining, but there's a gratuitous Jew joke that will leave a bad taste in your mouth. We also reunite with stripper Jade from the first film and see her baby Carlos all grown up. She's in a good place mentally and married to a doctor ("another surgeon," jokes Stu), but her little boy feels very lost, as he doesn't know the identity of his real father. Whether missing his own pap or just sad for the kid, Alan lies that he's Carlos's dad. Nothing really comes out of this, and while it's nice to give the confused child a sense of security (albeit a false one), this feels very wrong and hard to get behind.
The movie's final scene seems to imply there won't be any more Hangover films, and all you can really say at the end is "Good riddance." Would you have said that had you heard the first Hangover circa 2009 wouldn't have any follow-up films? Probably not, and that's the kind of note you want to finish on, not this.
What did you think about the movie? Let me know on Twitter: @LauraDonovanUA