May 22, 2013


The Hangover feels like a franchise created by a studio rather than a storyteller.  The original film was a huge sleeper hit, and Warner Bros. wanted to chase that high.  We get sequels because audiences presumably want more, and the assumption was that we wanted to see more of Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis), a.k.a. “The Wolfpack”.  The Hangover Part II gave audiences more of the same to the point where it felt like a remake rather than a sequel.  Once again, the filmmakers have responded not by really buckling down on a good story, but reacting to the response towards the previous movie.  This time we would get an original story—a Hangover without the hangover.  But The Hangover Part III is a case of being careful what you wish for, and even though sequels are supposed to provide more, Part III somehow gives us less.  The chemistry between the Wolfpack is diminished, the pacing is lethargic, and the humor is sporadic.  The only thing Part III gives us more of is Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) in an attempt to personify the insanity of the previous plots, but who only serves to distract from what should be the franchise’s last hurrah.

Rather than working with the Wolfpack as a whole, the story puts the focus on Chow and Alan.  Alan has been off his meds for six months, he’s becoming more unstable, and Doug (Justin Bartha) thinks it’s would be best if his brother-in-law spent a little time in an institution.  Bringing along Stu and Phil on the way to the facility, the friends are ambushed by Marshall (John Goodman) and his gang of thugs.  Marshall has come after the Wolfpack because Chow stole $21 million in gold, and Alan has been in contact with the unhinged criminal.  Marshall holds Doug ransom, and gives the Wolfpack three days to capture and deliver Chow.  When the gang encounters Leslie, they’re only drawn in deeper, and Alan is forced to slightly mature because that’s what the script requires despite his constantly childish antics.


In The Hangover, the characters retrace the steps of their wild night.  Similarly, director Todd Phillips and screenwriter Craig Mazin have made two attempts to recapture the glory of the original film.  Even though the plot is walking a new path, the calculations are still there.  The story focuses on Alan because he was the most popular character from the first movie.  And audiences must love Chow far more than I expected since Phillips and Mazin choose to put the character front-and-center, and let Stu and Phil recede into the background.  In an attempt to answer the criticisms directed at The Hangover Part II, Phillips and Mazin have still missed the mark.  The complaints weren’t about the chemistry between the three lead characters.  The complaints were about copying the plot.  Part III ends up throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

We’re left to wonder if these characters can work if they’re no longer in the framework of the original movie.  The “Wolfpack” moniker really is appropriate since there’s no single protagonist.  We see Stu, Phil, and Alan get punished in equal measure, and the chemistry comes alive through their shared ordeal.  But if you shake it up, then the repercussions throw the story out of balance.  By putting the emphasis on Alan, we see Phil and Stu as nothing more than a jerk and a coward, respectively.  They’ve always had these shallow traits, but they worked in the past because of their situation.  The further you pull the characters away from the central action, the more uninteresting they become.


The original flame only begins to flicker once the gang goes back to basics and Chow is off their backs.  They’re a team that’s woefully out of their depth, and when Phil tries to repel down a floor from the top of Caesar’s Palace, it has the same level of comic threat as trying to move a car that contains a tiger.  Phil, Alan, and Stu may not be directly at fault for their circumstances, but it’s still funny watching them trying to deal with the situation.  There are laughs throughout the movie, but they’re far less frequent because the new plot doesn’t have the frenetic pace of the original.  Part III is far more methodical in pushing from scene to scene, and making the characters dance to Chow’s beat.  He’s the driving force, and so the film rests on a character who works best in small doses.  Galifianakis and Jeong deliver some great jokes (Galifianakis has one of my favorite lines of the year), but the scenes lack the flair we came to expect from the first movie.  Ironically, since this is billed as the conclusion of the trilogy, the one scene that best evokes the spirit of the original comes during the credits.

Sometimes, individual elements come together in an unexpected way, and the result is something special.  Recreating that formula can be difficult, and the last two Hangover movies have been trying to find the mix that made the original such a success.  Part II thought it was the plot, and Part III thinks it’s Alan and Chow.  But sometimes you simply can’t brew up that concoction again.  It was something raw, vivacious, and spontaneous.  I seriously doubt anyone expected The Hangover to be one of the biggest hits of 2009.  The Hangover Part III shows there’s no recapturing the magic of the original.  At best, we can only look back fondly at that unforgettable forgotten night.

Rating: C


  • PolakNarodowiec

    I tak pójdę do kina. Ostatnia część. Czekam!

  • The Exploiter

    That awkward moment when the guy who gave Star Trek Into Darkness a D gives The Hangover Part III a C.

    • Eric Cormier

      Let this be a lesson to you on how smart the people at Collider are. Hangover III is a fair C, C+, B- but Star Trek SHOULD’VE been higher.

      • Strong Enough

        or maybe he has a different opinion than you?

      • ScaredForMovies

        Or maybe he was just butt hurt that he didn’t get to watch Star Trek 2 before us normies and took his rage out in his Trek nerd review. There wasn’t a huge difference between the 1st and 2nd Trek and he liked the former and hated the latter?Goldberg only gave Iron Man 3 a B because he’s in love with Shane Black. It was a terrible movie.

      • Strong Enough

        or maybe he doesn’t give a shit about any of it and your acting like a homo?

      • ScaredForMovie

        Hey look everyone. Strong Enough has become Goldbergs knight in shining armor. Finally moved off of Nolan’s sack and on to Goldbergs? I wish you luck with your budding romance you classy douche.

      • Strong Enough

        yeah you’re a homo lmao

  • dharma

    I’m a big fan of this site, but Matt Goldberg seems to have a vendetta against big tent pole pictures…rating the Hangover series over Into Darkness? (HUH)

    • Strong Enough

      you can’t compare a big epic sci fi movie to a comedy in terms of ratings. it makes no sense. let’s compare Identity Thief to Iron man 3. it’s ridiculous

      • Sean Chandler

        Fair enough. Goldberg still comes off like someone with a vendetta against tentpole films. He gave a D to a movie with 87% tomato rating and then on three occasions over the next week trashed the film again. It’s like it’s his mission to make sure everyone knows how much he hates that film.

      • Strong Enough

        well it is at 87 for a reason meaning other people hated it too. so why is it a problem when he hates it?

      • Sean Chandler

        I’ve ranted about this too much on here. So I’ll try to be brief.

        1) He gets paid to write for a blog which largely covers big blockbuster films. The readers come to read about these types of films, but he clearly doesn’t like that type of film. Therefore, it’s odd he writes for this particular blog.

        2) More importantly it’s how he writes his reviews. He writes as if he’s better than the readers who like the films he’s trashing. There’s no humility and there’s lots of snark.

        There’s a reason so many people are angry in the comment section of his reviews and specifically don’t like him. People come here because we like a certain type of film, and then he writes his reviews in a way which feels like he’s trying to step on our toes. Then he finds reasons to keep bring it back up and step on our toes again (he did this with Star Trek a lot).

      • Strong Enough

        1) This site covers ALL films from Cannas to Sundance and there is no evidence Matt hates blockbuster movies. Maybe most blockbuster movies are shit which they mostly are.

        2) First of all you’re taking a movie review way to seriously and second of all, really? Is there a certain style you want him to write in? I read his stuff and find it hilarious but the point is if you don’t like his reviews why read them? I don’t like Rolling Stone film review so I don’t read em therefore I have nothing to complain about. simple.

        No one is angry. It’s only people who have no life who need to bully a man with a certain opinion different than yours. I just can’t understand why you all just won’t go the fuck away and stop crying like bitches. Who gives a shit about how he writes a review? he can say fuck Nolan with my mom’s dick and I couldn’t give two shits. IT HIS WEBSITE. Don’t like it?
        Fuck off and never, never, ever, ever, EVER come back and complain. If you do imma cyber slap you for wasting your precious time doing the same shit over again like a pussy,

      • Sean Chandler

        I read Collider because they seem to cover a lot of things which I’m very interested in. Most of their writers share my enthusiasm for these projects. Goldberg frequently offers snarky criticism when he reports on these projects and then offers contrarian reviews. Thus, I’m here because I’m interested in the projects they cover.

        It seems ironic to me that you’re worried about me wasting my time by constantly ranting against Goldberg while possibly wasting your time responding to us who rant against Goldberg.

      • Strong Enough

        Yes but you hate his reviews so why read them? it’s so simple yet you people can’t comprehend it. Don’t like it? stay away from it. but you continue to bully him. I’m sure he doesn’t give a flying fuck but I hate it when a gang of people go after one person especially if he/she didn’t do anything wrong and was only expressing their opinion.

      • Sean Chandler

        There’s a difference between bullying and expressing my opinion about his opinion. I’ve found his other blog and read it. I’ve found him on other social media. I don’t follow him there to harass him. I read it to try to understand him. I bully goes there to harass. If he expresses his opinion, I can express my opinion of his opinion. That isn’t bullying.

      • Strong Enough

        Understand him? what is there that is so complex to understand? He writes a review that you disagree with yet you complain again and again. i JUST saw your comments on fast and furious 6 review and you’re saying the same shit again. Once again why do you continue to read his reviews if you don’t like his style of writing????? TELL ME! TELL ME WHY!!!!!

    • NKC

      I agree with you… Love Collider and would love it more w/o Matt Goldberg.

  • Kale

    You should have a discussion about recycled movies on the collusion, because the hangover franchise seems to relize that recreating something, doesn’t work. I also want to point out that the fast and furious movies are basically the same thing in each movie, people driving fast cars, and crashing them at any given opportunity, so you can incorperate that into the conversation. Now obviously, this is a suggestion, but I thought that would make a great conversation.

  • FilmsNerdsHaveNoLives

    Freedom of Speech & Press shouldn’t apply to Matt Goldberg. I wonder whose cock he had to blow to be publish his insignificant thoughts.

  • Rallax

    Can’t wait to see how butthurt you guys get when he gives a positive review to Furious 6. It’s going to be delicious.

  • Jones

    Remember Goldberg giving The Incredible Burt Wonderstone B? I thought: finaly a movie, this guy likes. I went to see it. Stopped listening to this guy ever since. He is a shame to this awesome site. Pls retire Matt. Right now.

  • movieguy223

    I absolutely hated this movie. I skipped Part II because of bad reception and went to a press screening for this one with some relatively low expectations and even those weren’t met. Everyone looked so bored, and it was hardly a comedy. Curious though, Matt, what was the line of Galifianakis’ that you liked so much?

  •‎ tarek

    the Hangover is a standalone movie that doesn’t not need a sequel. Let alone two sequels.

    Now it is turning into a drunken version of Sliders. It is no longer funny.

  • celtsfan75

    In the penultimate paragraph the word you are looking for is rappel, not repel.

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