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Article by Teddy Durgin

The Hangover Part III: You'll Hate This Movie the Next Morning

So, I saw "The Hangover Part III" last week in preview, and I'd say about 20 percent of the packed audience howled with laughter throughout. And I am sure quite a few of those 20 percent-ers were East County Times readers. God bless all of you. I hope you were able to sleep off the real hangover you had the next morning, 'cause y'alls had been doin' some drinkin'! "The Hangover Part III" is a terrible movie, folks. I remember four short years ago seeing the original "Hangover." In that packed audience, 99.9 percent of the crowd left that screening with their sides hurting they had been laughing so hard. It was a daring, go-for-broke, character-based film that had one of the great hooks of all time - three guys awaken the morning after a Las Vegas bachelor party with no memory of the night before. All they know is one has a hospital wristband on, the other has a missing tooth, there is a crying baby in their hotel suite closet, a Bengal tiger in their bathroom and the groom is missing. Say what you want about "Part II." Yes, it repeated the formula. But it at least attempted to take these characters down even further into the depths of depravity. It featured the great, oft-repeated line: "Bangkok has them now." And it smartly elevated Ed Helms' straight-arrow dentist, Stu, to de facto lead status. I'll never forget that moment when Stu came to the realization: "I have a demon in me!" It was not long after screaming at Alan (Zach Galifianakis), "YOU ARE THE BEARDED DEVIL!" Heeding the critics, though, director and co-writer Todd Phillips has done away with the "waking up the next morning and putting the pieces together" gimmick of the first two films and instead tells a straight-forward story in "Part III." Unfortunately, his script is centered around an inane caper plot in which the Wolfpack (Helms' "Stu," Bradley Cooper's "Phil" and Galifianakis' off-his-meds "Alan") has to track down the crook Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) from the first two films or else John Goodman's mob boss is going to kill their friend, Doug (Justin Bartha). "The Hangover Part III" makes some spectacularly bad mistakes in its concept, its script and its filming. One of the major missteps was elevating Galifianakis to lead status. I suppose it's somewhat brave that a studio has bankrolled a $100 million comedy that is structured around a truly mentally ill character. But a little of Alan goes a long way. Phillips gives the actor free rein here to be as weird and off-kilter as he wants. So much so that the other actors just stand around in most scenes and watch him go. Bradley Cooper is especially guilty of this throughout, barely taking off his cool-guy sunglasses. I haven't seen a performance this phoned-in since John Forsythe on "Charlie's Angels." And what were Phillips and Co. thinking giving even more screen time in this third film to the deeply annoying Jeong and his shrill, thoroughly unlikable Chow?! I haven't wanted someone to just shut the frig up on screen so bad since Pierce Brosnan shout-sang ABBA songs in "Mamma Mia." I don't wish ill will on anyone, folks... except for Ken Jeong. I don't ever want to see this guy again. Ever. And I don't want to ever see "The Hangover Part III" again. Sigh. They probably should have Wolfpacked it in after the first sequel.



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