Movie review: “Hangover III” ends trilogy on a mild headache

By Columbus Alive
From the May 30, 2013 edition

Ever had one of those hangovers? The waiting-for-the-sweet-release-of-death, I’m-never-drinking-another-drop kind of hangovers?

Yeah, and was that the last time you ever drank? Probably not.

So even after a been-there-done-that sequel in 2011, I was game to give “The Hangover Part III” a shot. Hair of the dog, as they say. End result? I left with a bad taste in my mouth. Again.

The good news is that it at least deviates from the note-for-note rehash of the second film. The bad news is that there just aren’t enough laughs to be had from a Wolfpack on cruise control.

After wild blackout nights in Las Vegas and Thailand, these guys are rightly careful about what happens when they get together. Manchild Alan (Zach Galifianakis), however, is not well-equipped for the breakup of the Wolfpack. He’s off his meds and has the gang thinking it’s time for an intervention.

But another group adventure soon erupts — this one not involving a loss of consciousness. A ruthless crime boss (John Goodman, playing ruthless) seeks Alan, Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms) for help in tracking down another ruthless crime boss, Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong).

I still don’t get why this anything-goes R-rated comedy series wasn’t funnier. The emerging talents of the cast, particularly the weirdness of Galifianakis, when he’s let off the ease, and director Todd Phillips should have resulted in something better than this.

“Part III” is certainly willing to go dark, but as we revisit characters from the previous films, the recent nostalgia wears thin. Early indications that this may finally be the movie where they let Galifianakis run free turn out to be false. The rest of the cast is going through the motions, particularly Cooper, who might as well be taking a nap.

Instead, we get more screen time for Jeong’s Chow, a character who is much funnier in smaller doses it turns out.

The laughs are here and there, but they’re too sporadic. And though Phillips promises this is the end of the Wolfpack, I can’t help but think he may be setting up an Alan spinoff. Count me in for that idea, but it’s time to take two aspirins and sleep off “The Hangover.”