Film: "The Hangover Part III"; Actors: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Ken Jeong; Director: Todd Philips; Rating: ***
Though a part of the trilogy, "The Hangover Part III" is unique in its own way. It ditches the formulaic setup of the first two installments for a straightforward story. It also packs in some excellent action-thriller sequences to give wholesome comedy.
Fans of the franchise will catch up the story from the very word go. But for those who are first time viewers of the series, it is the adventures of four friends, the Wolfpack - Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Doug (Justin Bartha) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis).
In terms of the story, "The Hangover" was of how three very different guys affect one another and form a bond; "Hangover II" was Stu's story of "personal discovery" and the third film focuses on how Alan matures into an adult.
And like the previous two films, "The Hangover Part III' too has a team member in peril; a mystery for the Wolfpack to solve; a set piece-to-set piece progression of clues that deliver some twisted moments and raunchy humour.
The film begins like an action film with Chow (Ken Jeong) a conman and criminal escaping from a chaotic Thai prison.
On the other hand, 42-year-old Alan is excited and happy in life. He is off medications for the past six months and now on his way home after purchasing 'Giraffe'. En-route home, he has a freak accident, which leads to a series of disasters, which also includes the death of his father. Oblivious of the cause of disaster, Alan leads a normal life "his way," while others around him feel that he needs help.
Concerned about Alan's well-being, his friends decide to hospitalise him. On their way to the hospital, they are way-laid by the cronies of crime boss Marshall (John Goodman).
Marshall keeps Doug as hostage and set the others three free to hunt Chow, who apparently stole his 21 million worth gold and is in touch with Alan.
The trio - sober faced, bruised and bloodied, shuttle between Mexico and Las Vegas chasing Chow.
On the performance front, it is Zach Galifianakis' film all the way. He steals the show with his comic timing and straight face repartee. Alan's concept of "cool" is one of the best reoccurring gags the film has, and Zach's delivery seems much more organic and fun than the hard stares and snippy lines his character was previously known for.
The rest of the cast delivers in a much subdued fashion, mostly serving as backboards for Zach's antics. New entrant Melissa McCarthy as Cassandra, Alan's love interest in the film, matches up with Zach to deliver some few but exciting moments.
The film, even with its usual pot-holes and absurdity, is director Todd Philips and script writer Craig Mazin's best. They have blended the narrative so well that 'Part III' gives the sense of wholeness to the trilogy.
The action, the visuals as well as the production values of the film are just right. The dialogues are bittersweet and funny at the same time. The actors add their bit of raunchiness to make it a memorable film.
'The Hangover III' is a compact film. Totally worth a watch!