"Todd Phillips has produced a very different kind of film."
Four years ago the world was introduced to the wolf pack, Alan, Stu, Phil and Doug whose roofie fuelled antics spelt disaster wherever they went and now the epic finale to cinema’s most hedonistic franchise comes to an end. That’s right, The Hangover Part 3 and things are about to get messy!
The first Hangover film picked up a huge cult following. From the director of hugely successful comedies like Road Trip and Old School, The Hangover took a much familiar concept and flipped it on its head to create an utterly insane caper comedy. Two years later the magic fizzled out slightly and The Hangover 2 failed to hit the mark in the same way, mainly due to the rehashed narrative which followed almost an identical sequence of events to the first film only the location had shifted to Bangkok, Thailand.
Thankfully though, Todd Phillips has produced a very different kind of film. This time round there are no spiked marshmallows, no waking up with missing teeth or atrocious facial tattoos.. that doesn’t mean to say the film lacks any less of a punch than its previous entries though. In fact the films opening sequence featuring a giraffe and a low level bridge sets the tone almost immediately.
This time round, Phil, Stu and Doug are called to help with an intervention for Alan whose becoming increasingly unstable since going off his meds, the boys opt to drive Alan to his new Arizona care home but this being a Hangover movie things don’t pan out quite the way you’d expect. Cue a run in with John Goodman's terrifying crime boss whose out for revenge after a certain Lesley Chow ran away with his 14 million dollars worth of gold bullion and it's up to the wolf pack to get Chow and the gold back!
Rather than repeating the earlier format of retracing their steps to locate a missing cohort, this time round Phillips creates an almost stand alone piece but of course in order to benefit fully from the experience you will need to have seen the previous films to appreciate a number of nods and winks, particularly a hilarious reference to one of Stu's unfortunate mishaps during the second film.
Part of the fun lies in the fact both charactrers and audience alike have been on a journey together for the last few years, so there is a definite sense of camaraderie and you genuinely feel like you know these characters now. Part 3 carries with it a more emotional weight than the previous films, particularly with Alan's character whose life is given a sense of purpose on meeting Melissa McCarthy’s pawn shop owner.
The decision to centre the narrative around Lesley Chow is another bonus as his character is without a doubt one of the finest comic creations and as a main character in this finale Phillips makes sure to utilize him to his full potential, and often becomes the saviour of certain scenes that would otherwise become quite dull.
Venturing into somewhat new territory with a different narrative progression, the film slightly stumbles in attempting to create a crime thriller-esque vibe and sadly skimps on some of the traditional Hangover gross out comedy moments we’ve come to expect from the franchise, but as a third act to the trilogy it does well to tie things up.
So is this the end of the wolfpack as we know it? Who knows really, Phillips and co have previously stated its unlikely there will be a fourth outing but if you can't quite cope with that concept make sure you stick around for the post credit sequence and keep your fingers crossed!