Because we were all wondering what the “Wolfpack” and Mr. Chow were doing in the interim, “The Hangover Part III” is meant to send the gang out in style. Box-office success was enough incentive, apparently, to turn 2009′s “The Hangover”—a brashly funny, often inspired surprise that has become something of a frat-boy classic—into a trilogy. Writer-director Todd Phillips must have realized his lazy but more-funny-than-not 2011 sequel “The Hangover Part II” was just a Xerox copy, so he and fellow screenwriter Craig Mazin racked their brains to diverge slightly from the formula and twist expectations a little. It’s a small blessing that this third and presumably last installment tries out a darker, more dangerous tone, but it’s no longer a raunchy comedy or a comedy, period.
No one actually gets hung over this time, unless you count the mid-credits “morning after” epilogue, which substitutes for these movies’ obligatory slideshow and happens to approximate the only belly laughs. Off his medication before his father (Jeffrey Tambor) suffers a fatal heart attack, Alan (Zach Galifianakis) becomes the center of an intervention staged by his family and friends, including Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and brother-in-law Doug (Justin Bartha). The road trip to a rehab clinic begins and then ends when the four guys are run off the road by Marshall (John Goodman) and his pig-masked goons. Holding Doug as collateral (can Bartha ever catch a break?), the gangster orders the three to find Mr. Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), who has escaped from a Thai prison, and steal back his $21 million in gold. Tracking the insane, slippery Chow takes them to Tijuana and Las Vegas, where more hilarity and mayhem ensue. Continue reading