Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: The Hangover Part III

Justin Bartha as Doug, Zach Galfianakis as Alan, Ed Helms as Stu and Bradley Cooper as Phil in The Hangover Part III. Photo / Supplied
Justin Bartha as Doug, Zach Galfianakis as Alan, Ed Helms as Stu and Bradley Cooper as Phil in The Hangover Part III. Photo / Supplied

The Wolfpack is back for the third and final time in another outlandish adventure, this time taking us back to where the first hangover began: Las Vegas.

Those familiar with the Hangover series will know these comedies come with plenty of swearing, chaos, drugs and other law-breaking activities, a great soundtrack and picturesque cinematography. Nothing has changed on that front, although there is one big difference between this film and its predecessors. This time around Phil (Cooper), Stu (Helms) and Alan (Galifianakis) must live through this crazy couple of days sober. That's right - no party, no hangover and no amnesia.

The first two Hangover movies were similar to each other; they just took place in different countries. The plotline saw the wedding of one of the friends jeopardised after a bachelor party went badly wrong; someone went missing and no one could remember what happened. Even second time round this idea proved a stretch, so in the third, film director Todd Phillips moves on from weddings and stag nights to rather less joyous events - a funeral and an intervention.

Alan is at the centre of this story. A 42-year-old "stay-at-home-son" who thinks of his father as his "life partner", he's deeply affected by his dad's sudden death. This, and Alan being off his meds for six months, is enough to convince Doug, Stu and Phil that they should stage an intervention and drive Alan to a treatment facility in Arizona.

The boys' eventful previous trips catch up with them during the road trip, and before they know it they're in deep trouble again - stuck between their mad friend Mr Chow (Ken Jeong) and new mobster Marshall (John Goodman). Doug, who went missing in the first film and to bed early in the second film, is taken hostage, so once again misses out on the action, of which there's quite a bit.

Car chases, abseiling down the outside of Caesar's Palace casino and fending off killer cock-fighting roosters are just part of what the boys must do to save Doug. It's not as much fun as the previous films with their slow reveal of what happened the night before in Vegas and Bangkok, but Phillips keeps the tension, humour and pace cranking.

You don't need to see the first films to see this one - there is a flashback explanation to set up this scenario - however, you'll get a lot more out of it if you're familiar with the Wolfpack's previous adventures. This is, after all, a film about closure, and it's filled with in-jokes and references to the earlier films.

Apart from the hangover, the other thing missing that was hilarious in the other films is the crazy photo montage at the end showing us in detail exactly what the boys got up to. It's a more mature ending this time, a fitting way to wrap up the series and signal it's time for us to let go of these poorly behaved rascals. Maybe, just maybe, the members of the Wolfpack are ready to grow up.

Stars: 3.5/5
Cast: Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis
Director: Todd Phillips
Running Time: 100 mins
Rating: R16 (Violence, offensive language, sexual material and other content that may offend)
Verdict: The "Wolfpack" remains the same, but the format gets a refreshing shake-up

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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