- Released Internationally on 23/05/13
- Released in Malta by KRS on 01/06/13
Another trilogy is set to conclude. The second instalment was a bit of a let-down, since it was a replica of the first, just set in Bangkok instead of Las Vegas. The first was of course one of the funniest and most irreverent films of the past decade, so a slight hope remains that this one can return to that level. There’s no wedding this time, and the road trip involves taking Alan (Zach Galifianakis, by far the funniest of the cast) to a ‘retreat’ centre to get his life back together. En route they bump into a new menace (John Goodman, whose career just never seems to slow down), and things, as expected, go haywire. There’s lots of Vegas, with some Tijuana thrown in, and all the old cast and crew are back for the final bash.
3-word review: Where’s the hangover?.
It seems that director Todd Philips and his team listened to the scathing criticism of the repetitive, unoriginal second film, because this third and final act is very different in terms of plot. The problem is, it veers so markedly off course that it has morphed from a crazy comedy into a slightly twisted crime caper, and I don’t mean that in a good way. The title doesn’t fit any more either, because hardly any substances are consumed, and there’s no hangover in sight (if forced, cringe-worthy, last-gasp additions to the end credits don’t count).
That’s not to say this is a completely terrible film. The opening might have you wondering whether you walked into the wrong cinema, but it eventually positions Mr Chow (Ken Jeong) as one of the main players, in a role that grew in importance over the course of the trilogy. Again, this seems to reflect fan demand, and the actor’s growing popularity since the release of the first film. Your enjoyment of this one will largely depend on whether you find him funny or intensely annoying. I haven’t completely decided yet, but it’s probably the latter. The second part of the film’s introduction manages to outdo even the first film in terms of overdoing it in a bad way, in a scene that would have been funny if handled sensitively, but plays out as a disgusting combination of bad special effects and extreme lack of taste.
With those two complaints out of the way, things improve, as Zach Galifianakis is given ample screen time to display his particular brand of awkward humour. The inevitable guys’ road trip commences, and things get rolling thanks to a few helpful flashbacks from previous films. The darker tone of this film is evidenced by the large amount of dramatic music that is needed to accompany various scenes, whereas the first film was very much the type that could get by with a selection of catchy songs. The plot is simple, with the main protagonists being caught up in a gold feud between two criminals. The details, especially the plot twists and solutions that our heroes face, feel very much like they were conceived by an excited teenager, possibly whilst drunk.
On a positive note, this film does in fact manage to tie off the trilogy in a conclusive way, and definitely leaves a better taste in the mouth than its predecessor. I suspect that any scene featuring friends staring out into the desert from a parked car will from now on remind audiences of this hapless trio, and the script does allow for some welcome nostalgia sequences and montages of similar shots from the three films. There’s even a cute scene with the baby, now a boy, from the first film (and its famous poster). I was actually feeling slightly positive about the whole thing up until the epilogue started. Ah well. At least we got one good film out of this package deal – the two sequels don’t change that.