Marrieds at the Movies: Why 'The Hangover Part III' Isn't a Comedy

Every Friday night, sends cinephiles (and newlyweds) Sarah and Joe Piccirillo to see a film. Afterwards, they answer a few questions about it. Below is their discussion.

The Hangover Part III

Synopsis: The Wolfpack returns. This time around, the guys are driving Alan (Zach Galifiniakis) to Arizona as part of an intervention when they are kidnapped by a drug dealer (John Goodman) and forced to track down their old nemesis, Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong).

Was this a good date movie?

Sarah: I imagine that for most men any movie that shows Ken Jeong’s tiny penis is probably a good date movie.

Joe: I disagree. It haunts my nightmares.

Sarah: But it’s so small!

Joe: I try to limit the number of penises I see to zero. It’s a perfectly fine date movie. Expectations are low for this go-around and the film meets them.


How does the final installment fare?

Sarah: By the time you get to the third installment of anything, I get pretty wary.

Joe: This one is a departure – there’s no drinking, no hangover and no piecing together details from the previous night, which is part of the fun of the other two movies.

Sarah: Yes, exactly. The first two start with a night of wild debauchery and take us through a series of escalating adventures. In the Hangover III, none of that early fun is included and we hit the ground running with a more serious reason for the guys to get together. The silliness and mystery are eliminated.

Joe: Yeah, this had a more serious/action vibe than its predecessors. I wouldn’t call it a comedy. It’s more like Very Bad Things. If you go into this thinking of it as a crime movie with some elements of comedy, you won’t be too disappointed.


Is the Wolfpack the same?

Sarah: Not quite. Stu (Ed Helms) is no longer a neurotic ball of barely controlled rage. He’s just a mild-mannered dentist.

Joe: Right. He isn’t fussy. Both he and Phil play the straight man role in the film, which is weird for a film with four core characters.

Sarah: Yeah, the energy’s different – it’s more coordinated.

Joe: Chow (Ken Jeong) is the Mindy Kaling of movies. Funny as a side character; annoying as a lead.

Sarah: I would say the same thing about Alan (Zach Galifianakis). He shines as the quirky oddball in an ensemble cast but peters out as a main character. When you see Alan’s odd proud peacock stance here and there, it’s funny. After half a dozen times, the joke becomes thin and embarrassing.

Joe: At least Justin Bartha’s Doug is still so boring that nobody notices when he’s off-screen for large chunks of the movie.

Sarah: Poor guy.


What will you be thinking about tomorrow?

Joe: I feel bad for the filmmakers. People criticized the sequel for being a carbon copy of the original and now they’re upset because this movie breaks form and is unlike either of the other two movies. They can’t win here.

Sarah: I feel bad for Melissa McCarthy. When the script calls for a love interest for the simple-minded, pot-bellied sociopath, she’s on the casting shortlist. It can’t feel good to be typecast as gross.

Joe: Well it seems like she’s leaning into it. She’s not ugly but she keeps playing ugly.

Sarah: Very true. Also, I know I’m a weirdo, but the treatment of gold bars in movies is a pet peeve of mine. Three Kings is the only movie that gets it right; moving gold bricks is a long, hard process. An 80-pound villain can’t make off with two duffel backs filled with them.



Joe: Murder, decapitation, and mental illness are played for laughs, Michael Bay-style. See it if that’s your thing.

Sarah: This is not as good as The Hangover, but it’s not totally egregious. If you’re comfortable with low expectations and you love Ken Jeong’s junk, see it.

Joe: Please stop talking about Ken Jeong’s genitals.

Sarah and Joe are writers/editors who live in Boston. They met in a bar and married within a year. They love to argue about early Woody Allen films and old romantic comedies. They both agree to hate musicals.



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