This one's

This one I recommend.

Ken Jeong is the hunted one in 'Hangover III'.

Ken Jeong is the hunted one in ‘Hangover III’.

Unexpectedly funny

Unexpectedly funny

Todd PhillipsThe Hangover was a funny movie about three friends trying to figure out what happened during the chaotic bachelor party that took place the night before they awoke from their drunken stupor. The Hangover Part II was a record-breaker in the ways it rehashed it predecessor down to practically the last line. Now comes The Hangover Part III, which, I suppose, is meant to be the stark opposite.

Indeed, whereas the second movie had way too much to do with the first movie, this film seems to have almost nothing in common with either of them, to the point where there isn’t even a hangover involved in the story. It makes about as much sense as keeping the word “ice age” in Ice Age 4 so I won’t complain too much.

So what is the story this time if it’s not about a hangover? Well, our three heroes, the “Wolfpack”, from the first two movies, Phil the teacher (Bradley Cooper), Stu the dentist (Ed Helms) and Alan the funny fat guy (Zach Galifianakis) are travelling to Arizona alongside Alan’s brother Doug (Justin Bartha), after having concluded that Alan needs to go to some manner of rehab facility after the death of his father (Jeffrey Tambor). On their way there, however, things expectedly take a turn for the worse, although it doesn’t involve anyone getting drunk.

Marshall (John Goodman), a gang lord whose business the Wolfpack have indirectly interfered with through their encounter with the completely insane Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), kidnaps Doug in exchange for Chow, as well as the gold that Chow has stolen from him. The rest of the film consists mostly of Phil, Stu and Alan going through a plot that seems like something out of a classic crime thriller, as they run into both some familiar faces (including Heather Graham from the first film) and some new ones (including an obese woman with whom Alan has some major sexual tension). Several other bits of hilarity ensue as they try to track down and capture Chow.

Our favourite wolfpack is back!

Our favourite Wolfpack is back!

The Hangover III has about as much to do with its title as Blair Witch 2: The Book of Shadows; something similar can be said for how much it has to do with its predecessors. However, after I left the theatre on the day of my screening, I was thinking to myself how this was the formula I wouldn’t mind to see replicated for a few sequels. I mean, instead of seeing them go through the motions of the first movie, we get to see three likable doofuses try to perform a serious mission for a crime boss, and it allows for a lot more memorable and funny moments than simply mimicing the first Hangover. What I am saying is that I actually enjoyed this entry in the series.

I admit it, I had a lot of fun viewing The Hangover Part III. I enjoyed the characters, (everyone’s favourite seems to be Alan; mine is Stu) I liked the performances, I thought the songs on the soundtrack were tastefully selected, I was kept interested by the story and I was genuinely placed upon the edge of my seat during some action moments. As fresh as this sequel may feel, though, there are some traditions it dares not break this time around either, such as Doug disappearing and Jeffrey Tambor’s talent getting completely wasted.

As a grand finale, the film generally does the job pretty well, moreso than I think many critics give it credit for. It provides a likable set of characters with nice closure, in a film that ties (mostly neatly) into their previous adventures and amusing mishaps. Of course it’s got flaws and a few jokes that either fall flat or don’t even seem like jokes at all, but in my opinion, when The Hangover III gets something right, it gets it very righ indeed. Maybe I was just too easily amused due to attending the Heron City, Stockholm premiere with some of my closest friesds, but if the definition of a “popcorn flick” is a movie that you can, in spite of its flaws, enjoy and have fun with alongside friends, I’d say this film is a good example.

As much as I was pleasently surprised by the film, though, the funniest thing that happened during my screening was that after the commercials had finished and before the film began, the staff of the theatre, headed by a short Asian man, performed a live parody of “Gangnam Style” that was related to going to the movies and how we should sit back, relax and turn off our phones. This is why I sometimes visit Heron City when I wanna see a movie.

4/5 whatever