A surprise blockbuster hit, the original ‘Hangover’ took a brotastic scenario then mined it for gross-out comic gold. Success breeds sequels, or in the case of ‘The Hangover II’, the exact same movie reset in Bangkok. This third – and if there is a benevolent god, last – entry finds our unholy trinity returning to the original scene of the crime,Vegas. Wolf Packers Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) are on the road again when they’re kidnapped by John Goodman’s mob boss; it seems Mr Chow (Ken Jeong, cringeworthy as ever) has stolen some gold bricks, and only the trio can find him.
You’d think that a Vegas reprise might channel some of the first film’s gonzo energy, but other than an early giggle-inducing shocker (two words: giraffe decapitation), ‘Part III’ has curiously little interest in being even remotely funny. Instead, director Todd Phillips inexplicably aims at making a standard action movie, complete with car chases and break-ins that compound the sense of creative bankruptcy. Galifianakis’s clueless manchild act feels pitifully DOA, while Cooper and Helms, having realised they could play their roles in their sleep, proceed to do just that. It’s only in an end-credits coda that the envelope-pushing of the series is displayed. That you have to wallow through 100 minutes of Hollywood dry-heaving to get there is the sort of fuck-you to the fans you’d rather forget.