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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Ken Jeong, Melissa McCarthy, Heather Graham, Mike Tyson, Mike Epps, John Goodman
DIRECTED BY
Todd Phillips
SCREENPLAY
Jon Lucas (Characters), Scott Moore (Characters), Craig Mazin, Todd Phillips
MPAA RATING
Rated R
RUNNING TIME
100 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Warner Brothers
DVD EXTRAS
outtakes, extended scenes, "Inside Focus: The Real Chow" and three making-of featurettes.

 "The Hangover 3" Nails the Coffin Shut 
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The Hangover 3 does everything you expect when a cinematic series hits its third go-round.

In other words, it tanks.

Yes, I'm aware that there have certainly been successful trilogies and beyond. Heck, whether you love the Fast & Furious series or hate it it's hard to deny that the series has for the most part maintained itself over the course of its six films.

The Hangover trilogy, and we can thankfully say that the series is due to stop with this film, has never really felt like it needed to be anything other than one really funny first film. The second film was practically a carbon copy retread of the original, though far less successfully so. This film? It's definitely not a retread, but neither does it capture all the humor and magic that we loved so much about the original film despite being gifted with pretty much all the same players back yet again.

The weird thing may very well be that The Hangover 3 isn't really that funny at all and I'm not sure it's supposed to be. This feels like it's almost meant to be a more action-packed, zen-like farewell to a cinematic journey that appears to have meant far more to those actually working on the film than to anyone actually watching it. This time around there's not even any reason to mess with the whole "hangover" premise, with most of the action centering around Doug (Justin Bartha) having been kidnapped by a seriously bad dude named Marshall (John Goodman), whom series devotees may remember for having been mentioned in the first film. The boys happened to on their way to a rehab center with Alan (Zach Galifianakis) but, of course, all this seriously bad stuff going down equates to the fact that the boys now have to locate Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong and Ken Jeong's penis) before Marshall kills Doug.

Got that?

Pretty much everything you expect to happen in The Hangover 3 doesn't, with the exception of those things that you've already seen in the film's "give it away" trailer. Indeed, the trailer really does give away the film's best moments. This doesn't mean that the film's a complete waste - it's not. In fact, there are a few scenes that are laugh out loud funny and a few action sequences that actually work quite well. The film is less successful at giving one more spotlight to familiar characters, most notably a wasted appearance by Heather Graham as Jade, whose presence seems to be only for Bradley Cooper's Phil to wax sarcastic.

Zach Galifianakis seems to be one of those "love him" or "hate him" actors. I love him. In fact, I think he's grown quite a bit as an actor, and that growth is on display here in The Hangover 3. He's got a beefed up part here, and it's hard not to picture this atypical Hollywood type not having a lengthy Hollywood career as he can play the man-child routine to the hilt and manages to pull off both comedy and sincerity quite nicely.

It's hard to picture too many folks falling in love with The Hangover 3, and the fact that it's opening up opposite Fast & Furious 6 should relegate to no higher than second at the box-office on its opening weekend. You won't necessarily regret spending one more adventure with these guys, but The Hangover 3 makes it pretty clear that sometimes it's just plain time for even the most welcomed guests to get on their way.

© Written by Richard Propes 
The Independent Critic

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