Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Video review: "The Hangover Part III"

If it stood on its own, “The Hangover Part III” would probably go down as a pretty decent comedy, agreeably raunchy without being terribly ambitious. Following in the wake of the brashly original 2009 film, though, it was bound to seem a letdown.

I give writer/director Todd Phillps and company points for recognizing they couldn’t just keep repeating the gimmick of a bunch of early-middle-aged buddies waking up from a night of debauchery and trying assemble the missing pieces to solve some mystery. It worked once, brilliantly, and was already old hat by the second time round. A third retread would’ve been fatal.

This time it’s all about irrepressible man-boy Alan (Zach Galifianakis), the one-time fifth wheel who’s undeniably the star of the show now. After being devastated by the death of his dad, the rest of the “Wolf Pack” – including rakish Phil (Bradley Cooper) and pernickety Stu (Ed Helms) – are driving Alan cross-country to a detox center.

Of course they run into all sorts of trouble, mostly involving an overbearing gangster (John Goodman), but also returning crazed con-man/exhibitionist Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) to the fold. There’s not quite as much nudity and foul behavior as the previous two films, though stick around for the end credits for an extra helping of filth.

“The Hangover Part III” may be a pale shadow of the original, but it’s funny enough to remind us what made it so good in the first place.

Extras are rather good, and in a rare occurrence are the same whether you opt for the Blu-ray combo pack or the regular DVD edition. So many releases today require you to pay more for the really good goodies.

There are extended and deleted scenes, outtakes and a host of making-of featurettes that are intended to be informative as well as ladle on more laughs. Probably the best is a prank pulled on Galifianakis in which they secretly filmed other actors auditioning to replace him in the role of Alan, then let the tapes “leak” out.



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