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No more hangovers as crude comedy trilogy takes a final bow

It ends where it all began for the unexpected hit series.

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

The Wolfpack returns for the final installment in director Todd Phillips "The Hangover" trilogy. Phil (Bradley Cooper), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Stu (Ed Helms) returned to Las Vegas once more on May 23.

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After four years and three movies full of debauchery, more nudity than you can shake a fist at and the drunken antics of the so called “Wolf pack,” Todd Phillips’ “The Hangover” trilogy has come to an end.

Back in 2009 Phillips and company brought the R rated comedy “The Hangover” to theaters with roaring success as it took the mantle of the highest grossing R-rated comedy ever.

In short order a second film followed, “The Hangover Part II,” in 2011 and at last this year the final movie rolled into theaters to bring the adventures of the characters to a madcap comedic ending.

Unlike the first two movies in the trilogy, “The Hangover Part III” departed from the formula of the characters waking up from a crazy night with little to no memory of what occurred.

Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis returned for the third endeavor as the aforementioned Wolfpack. The supporting cast from previous movies including Ken Jeong, Jeffrey Tambor, and Justin Bartha also returned.

Alan Garner (Galifianakis) is the reason once again for the adventure that comes to the group, but instead of being behind their drug induced hangovers his erratic behavior sends the group on a trip to get him treatment when they are pulled into an adventure that has roots back to the first film.

Doug (Bartha) becomes the missing character in this film just like the first one, fitting into the running plot point of Doug just playing a supporting role in the whole story, as Alan, Stu (Helms) and Phil (Cooper) end up hunting down Leslie Chow (Jeong) from Mexico all the way back to Las Vegas where their adventures all began.

Phillips and company bring their trademark crude humor for the third outing, which is not for everyone. Clearly though, after two movies viewers should know what they are getting themselves into.

While the plot is not the strongest of stories, the reasons for their having to run around this time all sort of falls into the realm of heavy coincidence, the connection between the characters and the crazy antics more than make up for this.

Unlike the previous movies Stu and Phil end up taking a slightly more back seat to allow Alan and Chow to take more of a center stage roll. There is a natural chemistry between Galifianakis and Jeong that lends itself well into the relationship of their characters.

One of the scenes was stolen by the cameo of “Identify Theft” star Melissa McCarthy, playing the owner of a small pawn shop in Vegas. Her part in the movie and the story itself presented a possibility for a potentially humorous spin-off.

Callbacks and cameos that all tie back to the first movie are peppered throughout the movie, bringing it all together to truly make it seem like the final part of a trilogy.

 The strongest part of the movie is that you get the feeling that these characters have been through hell together and are like a little dysfunctional family, underscored by scenes at the end where we’re shown various clips from all three movies and how the characters have changed.

While other movies suffer from complete over the top antics detracting from the plot, with the “Hangover” series, over the top is normal. If the antics and plot were not over the top it would just ring hollow to the series and the characters stories.

A large criticism of the second movie was about it following the formula of the first movie almost exactly, something that was taken into consideration when crafting the third movie where they moved away from the formula entirely.

Not having the characters trying to piece together a night they can’t remember was a nice turn for the plot as they actually had their wits about them this time. They were still out of their depth though, as they entered a world where John Goodman plays a drug dealer with a propensity to shoot people when he deems it necessary.

True to form though for Phillips, stay after the credits start as the director isn’t above throwing in a little extra just to rub it in the faces of critics of the second installment.

In the end, the third installment of “The Hangover” feels more like a trilogy ender than many other movies that have stated to be the same, that are truly just stepping stones to see if there is interest for more movies. While there is no true guarantee that a fourth movie won’t be attempted, if this truly is the end then it was a worthy ending to the series.

All around “The Hangover Part III” is a welcome conclusion to the story of the Wolf pack, full of laughs, outrageous stunts and antics that are sure to keep fans of the series laughing.

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No more hangovers as crude comedy trilogy takes a final bow