Hung out to dry

De­spide a few laughs, this weak se­quel proves the Wolf­pack are well past their sell-by date, writes Joe Grif­fin

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM -

aims for blus­ter, dark jokes, shock value and even pathos. But de­spite its am­bi­tions and lav­ish pro­duc­tion val­ues, it mostly re­minded this re­viewer of City Slick­ers 2: TheLe­gend of Cur­ley’s Gold, a tired cash-in that also re­volved around a trea­sure hunt.

To its credit, The Hang­over Part III avoids yet an­other stag party-spik­ing sto­ry­line. It opens with the wild and amoral Mr Chow (Ken Jeong, in full throt­tle) es­cap­ing a Thai prison. We’re then reacquainted with the Wolf­pack: ar­ro­gant, swag­ger­ing Phil (Bradley Cooper, coast­ing), ner­vous den­tist Stu (Ed Helms), per­pet­ual bit-player Doug (Justin Bartha) and un­hinged man-child Alan (Zach Gal­i­fi­anakis).

This time the uni­fy­ing event is the de­ci­sion to com­mit the in­creas­ingly wild and de­pen­dent Alan to an in­sti­tu­tion. The trip to New Hori­zons is in­ter­rupted by a dis­grun­tled gang­ster named Mar­shall (John Good­man), who kid­naps Doug and black­mails the friends into find­ing their old fren­emy, Mr Chow. It seems Mr Chow, now a fugi­tive, has stolen some gold bul­lion from Mar­shall. A dis­or­gan­ised, deca­dent ca­per en­sues.

Four years ago, The Hang­over cre­ated at least two stars in the very dif­fer­ent shapes of Bradley Cooper and Zach Gal­i­fi­anakis. Here the lat­ter has been un­com­fort­ably shoved into cen­tre stage. Like an es­pe­cially spicy sea­son­ing, Gal­i­fi­anakis is ef­fec­tive in small doses and hard to take as a main course: it’s a fine line be­tween spir­ited and shrill. Jeong fares bet­ter, but tal­ented straight-men Cooper and Helms have even less to do than usual.

The Hang­over Part III was al­ways go­ing to be a tough task.There are some bright mo­ments, most of them in the first act and all of which fea­ture in the trailer: a slap­stick prison break, an awk­wardly funny eu­logy, and a per­ilous sit­u­a­tion that be­comes a photo op­por­tu­nity.

Sadly, de­spite a mostly game cast and hand­ful of chuck­les, the film man­ages to be both bom­bas­tic and flat. This hang­over of­fers lit­tle be­yond headaches, fa­tigue and re­gret.

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