Movie review: Finale of 'Hangover' trilogy less funny, more violent

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If you want to witness the latest way the makers of "The Hangover Part III" turn Stu (Ed Helms) into a boob -- again -- stay for the credits.

After losing a tooth and gaining a facial tattoo, he undergoes an unscheduled alteration that has him asking in high-pitched panic, "Alan, what did you do?"

Alan (Zach Galifianakis) is the reason the Wolfpack reunites and embarks on another disastrous road trip, including an eventual return to Vegas. Stu had vowed he'd never go back, but Phil (Bradley Cooper) promises, "Don't worry. It all ends tonight."

'The Hangover Part III'

2.5 stars = Average
Ratings explained

  • Starring:

    Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Ken Jeong.

  • Rating:

    R for pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity.

And, in a world where franchises refuse to let go until every last ounce of humor or action or excitement or merchandising has been wrung out, "The Hangover" is stopping at three.

The trio of Wolfpack stalwarts is as funny as ever, but this installment is less funny and more mean-spirited and violent than the second, which ventured into some dark, edgy, sweaty territory in Thailand.

This time, the focus is on Alan, who has gone off his meds and his rocker. Still a stay-at-home son at age 42, he's bought a giraffe, which meets an unfortunate end on the freeway and triggers a massive pileup and, then, the fatal collapse of Alan's father.

After the funeral, Stu, Phil and Doug (Justin Bartha) participate in an intervention and start to escort Alan to a facility in Arizona to get him help, but they end up entangled with characters and criminals from their past, notably the wily mayhem magnet Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong).

Turns out he stole millions in gold from the wrong guy, Marshall (John Goodman), who takes Doug captive and threatens to kill him unless the other three find Mr. Chow, for starters.

And the men are off to Tijuana and beyond, reconnecting with other familiar faces and introducing a potential love interest for Alan and bringing the curtain down on director Todd Phillips' trilogy.

Everyone does a little ad-libbing now and then, but Mr. Galifianakis comes out with the wackiest things that seem to take his co-stars by surprise.

Whether it's a line about a neighbor at his intervention or a shirt Phil is wearing, it sounds as if it's off the top of his hilarious head. (As opposed to a question Phil asks about a fast-food chain that screams "obvious product placement!")

When the focus is on Phil, Stu or, especially, Alan as he radiates childlike cluelessness and wonder, the movie works, but too much time with Mr. Chow and it tilts in the wrong, unfunny direction. A little of Mr. Jeong's character goes a long, long way.

If it's rare that a sequel is better than the original, it's even less common for the third movie in a trilogy to rise above its predecessors. "Part III" does not do that; it's the least funny of the three although it brings the boys full circle, complete with another heckuva hangover.

Opens at 10 tonight in most theaters, will play everywhere starting Thursday.

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Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: or 412-263-1632. Read her blog:


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