Of all the dumb things Hollywood does when making movies, there is one that has always ticked me off more than any other. They have a nasty habit of taking a supporting character or part of ensemble that has become overly popular, and then bringing them into the foreground in the sequels. These characters originally worked because they were marginalized, so when they become the focal point, the character suffers for it.
For example, take the “Stifler” character in the American Pie movies. He proved so popular in the first two films that the third film more or less revolved around him, and we got the weakest chapter in the series. Well, for The Hangover 3, this has happened to not one, but two characters. The producers have brought Alan and Chow, played by Zach Galifikanis and Ken Jeong respectively, to the forefront and pushed the prior films leads, Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms to the background. This is incredibly disappointing, considering both Alan and Chow were funnier in small doses. Having the focus on them makes the movie grating at times.
On the bright side, after the debacle that was the second Hangover, it is nice to see the makers try something different. For all intents and purposes, this is a better movie. That is faint praise though, as almost anything is better than part II (things that are better than part 2: syphilis, world hunger, the latest Tyler Perry movie, Honey Boo Boo (Editor: I refuse to link to anything Honey Boo Boo) and running out of gas in the middle lane of a busy freeway). The laughs are few and far between, but this is a significantly darker movie than the first two. However, the laughs that do come are very funny – the last few minutes may be one of the funniest things I’ve seen in ages.
Overall, I left the theatre highly disappointed, wondering how a once promising franchise could go so far off course. After thinking about it, I’ve decided that by no means is this a ‘good’ movie. It’s still better than the second, so it’s passable. Now lets just end the franchise and let it go peacefully. Lets just pray that we don’t get a Chow-centric spin-off.