Director: Todd Phillips
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Ken Jeong
Review Written By: Michael Dalton (Prime Minister)
Jumping the shark is a phrase commonly used when a film or tv show has lost its credibility. On trusty Wikipedia it is defined as, “An idiom created by Jon Hein, that was used to describe the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality that is beyond recovery, which is usually a particular scene, episode, or aspect of a show in which the writers use some type of gimmick in a desperate attempt to keep viewers’ interest” It began after an episode of Happy Days in which Fonzie (Henry Winkler) jumps over a shark during a water ski challenge (Something that Winkler would later subtly and brilliantly parody in an episode of Arrested Development) Over the years many have attempted to create new phrases for such a phenomenon whether it be, moved the island (Referring to Lost) or nuking the fridge (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) however The Hangover Part III begins with a new contender…decapitating the giraffe.
The film starts with the series’ most beloved character Alan (Zach Galifianikas) inadvertently decapitating a giraffe and as a result causing a traffic accident which must have cost many thousands of dollars if not lives. Deciding he has a mental health problem seemingly beyond repair, his good old friends try and drive him to a mental home however they are ambushed and told by a man named Marshall (Played by the legendary John Goodman…more on him later) that they must get his money back from Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), a recurring SUPPORTING character in the series, or face his wrath. Now the word to describe this film would be, misjudged but let me address three of the biggest misjudgements…the reason why they think the second failed, the appeal of the character Chow and the evolution of the character Alan.
The Hangover Part II was not found repetitive and lazy by many because the characters were hung-over again but because it was beat for beat the same film. This third installment seems to think that taking away the crux and concept of the series will freshen it up…they are wrong. Making a hangover film with no hangover is like making a Back to the Future film with no time travel. The film instead introduces a very dull crime plot that is incredibly uninvolving and tedious, highlighting once again how less is more and simplicity can be the key to success. At the center of this poorly thought out and executed criminal conspiracy, is the character Leslie Chow.
In the first film, Leslie Chow was one of the funniest elements in his brief yet entertaining appearance. In the second he had become, like the film and series itself, much louder, nastier and more annoying but thankfully he was still a relatively small part of the proceedings. In this third film he is one of the main characters and boy does a little bit of Leslie Chow go a long way. In failing to recognize that he is a supporting character who works best in small doses, in promoting this now annoying character to a lead they have placed a near intolerable presence at the heart of a boring storyline.
Thirdly and finally in this trinity of biggest misjudgments, the character of Alan. Like Chow, he has just been made nastier and louder as the films have progressed, once again representing the evolution of the series as a whole. In the first film Alan was not psychotic and mentally unstable, yet the filmmakers have evolved him to that place and in doing so have ruined his character. There was a charming element to his craziness in the first, but in this he is a downright horrible person whose actions stretch credibility even for a comedy. The film also doesn’t treat or portray his supposed condition with an ounce of sensitivity, with The World’s End this summer we got a comedy film which demonstrated how you could deeply, darkly and properly portray difficult mental conditions in a film of this sort. In this film any problems that Alan may have are dealt with in such a crude and exploitative manner. The film aims to be darker and have these life or death stakes, yet when Alan gets away with all the stuff he does in this film and with all the oh so wacky shenanigans they get up to, all it serves to do is to undermine itself at every corner.
Now I’m not one of those animal lover people but…this film has a bizarre, rather suspect attitude towards animals. As stated it’s a film that starts with giraffe decapitation and goes on to chicken smothering and dog poisoning. I’m not sure exactly what it is Todd Phillips and co. find so funny about animal abuse but like their story with this film and treatment of their characters, it is misjudged. The film is also incredibly wasteful of the talent it has at its disposal. All of the actors in this film are great and have been great in other films including the first Hangover but when you have actors like Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong and John Goodman and you give them THIS…it’s like being handed fine paintings and using them as one big doormat. Todd Phillips as a director shows some skill and style behind the camera with this film with it occasionally being quite visually impressive. It’s a shame he’s directing and defending films like this and being an obnoxious, hypocritical idiot whilst doing so as he clearly has some talent.
The film attempts to provide this emotional, wrap-up to its pathetic excuse for a trilogy that does not work at all and is frankly lame. However its biggest crime is that there are no true laugh out loud moments. People still quote the first Hangover film, “Is this the real Caesar’s Palace?” but whilst watching this film, I was struggling to remember any of the lines that came prior. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t parts I found passably amusing but…passably amusing isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement.
Now in my review for The World’s End I will most likely praise it for being a third film in a trilogy that is markedly different from its predecessors and which deals with deeper, darker material and you may find it hypocritical that I criticize this film for being different than its predecessors and for having darker material. However there is a difference, The World’s End finishes a true trilogy whereas this finishes a financial one. The World’s End is different in a way that augments rather than detriments the film and which is in keeping with the concept established by the previous two. And the darker elements of The World’s End are dealt with in a much more mature, substantial and skillful manner than anything on display here.
The Hangover Part III is a horrible film. I’m so glad I didn’t pay for this, as if I had I would have felt like Jesse at the start of the last season of Breaking Bad, the $351,000,072 dollars this film has grossed worldwide…blood money.
Movie Parliament Rating: LOST THE DEPOSIT
By Movie Parliament Prime Minister,
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