Film review: The Hangover Part III - it tries hard to be funny but fails to raise a solitary guffaw despite Zach Galifianakis' borderline sociopath Alan

2.00

(15)

Before the lights went down at the press show of The Hangover Part III the PR person told the assembled it was "worth staying for the credits at the end".

She omitted to mention whether it was worth staying for the actual movie. It's said that tourists from all over the world now go to the front desk at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas and ask – in tribute to Alan's gormless enquiry from the first film – "Is this the real Caesar's Palace?"

It was a gag that came beautifully out of nowhere, just like the movie itself. The success of The Hangover took everyone by surprise, which is the one element that its makers simply can't duplicate – though God knows they tried, transferring the bachelor mayhem to Bangkok for The Hangover Part II. Which is how it ended up looking like a cheap Eastern knockoff.

This third and (we are assured) final part is at least an improvement on Part II. Within five minutes there has been a decapitated giraffe and a freeway pile-up, both naturally the handiwork of Alan (Zach Galifianakis), borderline sociopath and cause of the original Hangover. Alan's mother in despair asks his pals Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms) to take her errant son to a cure home, even though they realise that nothing short of death is going to cure Alan.

And they've no sooner hit the road than they're waylaid by a mob boss (John Goodman), who wants them to track down their old nemesis Chow (Ken Jeong) and the stash of gold bricks he stole. The gangster takes Alan's brother-in-law Doug as ransom, which means third time unlucky for Justin Bartha, disappearing on cue.

Director Phillips has promised to go for a "truly epic finish", and with co-writer Craig Mazin cooks up a plot that stays just about roadworthy. We get a trip down Mexico way, a break-in at a mansion, an arrest, and thence a return to Vegas, scene of the original crime. It's a curious thing to watch, because all the comic architecture is in place, the rhythms of comic inter- play are at work, the lines are delivered with a comic relish – and yet almost nothing in it is funny. The one time I heard genuine laughter ripple over the stalls was Stu dry-heaving at some inanity of Alan's.

Whereas the "Wolfpack" trio made nearly everything they said sound hilarious, now they seem to be waiting around for each other to raise a laugh; Cooper and Helms are reduced to mugging for the camera, offering reaction shots to nothing. Galifianakis, the original's wild card, has the saddest moment of all, showing puzzlement at an architect's model of the house they're planning to burgle – and revisiting the Caesar's Palace gag. Oh no! I think everyone stayed for the closing credits, as the PR had advised, and, a few titters aside, the auditorium remained as quiet as a church.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

music
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week