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Movie review: The Hangover Part III (M18, 100 min) | 1.5/5

Maybe I’ve had a few too many hangovers myself, but aren’t the Hangover films supposed to be comedies? I ask this because I might have missed the memo that Rob Zombie had been hired to take the franchise in a new direction - where encouraging laughter is frowned upon on.

The Hangover Part III brings the Wolfpack back for one last lark. Alan (Zach Galifianakis) has gone off his meds and off the deep end, and his friends Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) decide to drive him to Arizona to get treatment — except they get assaulted by a big, scary gangster named Marshall (John Goodman) along the way. Doug is kidnapped and held hostage until the other guys can give Marshall what he wants: Their old frenemy Mr Chow (Ken Jeong).

This time, there’s no forgotten night, no bachelor party, no wedding to get to, no “hangover” to emerge victorious from. But it isn’t the breaking of the usual format that kills the laughs. Nor is it the decision to put Alan and Chow front and centre (although there is a Joe Pesci lesson to be learnt here: Some people are funny only when they’re used sparingly). It’s the simple fact that the script from director Todd Phillips and co-writer Craig Mazin isn’t particularly funny.

Broadly speaking, killing people, smothering roosters, snapping the necks of dogs, and killing more people is only a laugh riot to the segment of the population that ends up serving as inspiration for the writers of Criminal Minds. Put that hoot-free script in the hands of returning actors who mainly look as if they’d rather be somewhere else if not for contractual obligations, and you get a comedy that makes cat videos on YouTube look like the best of Monty Python.

Phillips has bizarrely turned in an action-adventure — and not a very good one, either. If you must watch it to complete your trilogy experience, do stay for the little treat that comes on after the credits start rolling. It is, sadly, the comedic highlight of the entire film.

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