As always, the extended Memorial Day weekend proved to be a busy couple of days at the box office, with 'Fast and Furious 6' shattering every expectation in its first three days of release (as we reported right here). Meanwhile, 'The Hangover Part 3', uh, did not. But this is a four day weekend! How are both films looking to fare when the holidays are over and all of the dust has settled?
The Hangover Part 3
No filmmaker has done more for the bromance than Todd Phillips. From 'Road Trip' to 'Old School' to, now, three 'Hangover' films, he’s detailed the love one man has for another man more thoroughly than just about anyone in Hollywood. And 'The Hangover Part III' feels almost weirdly like a last hurrah for the sorts of shenanigans that have become his stock and trade: reuniting the Wolf Pack under the pretense of getting Alan (Zach Galifianakis) some much-needed emotional counseling, Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms) find themselves unwittingly teamed with their man-child companion yet again after a gangster (John Goodman) holds Doug (Justin Bartha) hostage in exchange for them locating Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), whom he claims stole $21 million from him.
At the risk of great physical harm – namely, a pretty wicked hangover -- we headed to Las Vegas to talk to director Todd Phillips and screenwriter Craig Mazin about 'The Hangover Part III.' In addition to discussing the process of wrapping up the Wolf Pack saga, Mazin and Phillips explored the underlying appeal of the films to audiences, and gingerly addressed questions about what might follow from the purveyors of the most successful R-rated comedy series of all time.
Comedy sequels are not uncommon, but trilogies are rare. And yet, 'The Hangover Part III,' the third and presumably final installment in Todd Phillips’ epic saga of four friends who can’t seem to keep themselves sober (or even conscious) when they come together, seems oddly natural given the enormous appeal of its ensemble cast. The film brings Wolf Pack members Phil, Stu, Alan and Doug full circle, returning them to Vegas older and marginally wiser as they try to track down the potty-mouthed Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) for another gangster (John Goodman) who claims that he stole $21 million in gold bars from him during their first drugged-out stint in Sin City.
We spoke with stars Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms at Las Vegas’ Caesar’s Palace, where the original and final chapters were filmed about wrapping up the most successful comedy series in movie history. In addition to offering their thoughts about the franchise’s trajectory, they reflected on the star-making experience of playing these now-iconic roles, and offered a few suggestions about how to follow up their collective success with reunion films – in new styles and other genres, no less.
'The Hangover' giveth and 'The Hangover' taketh away.
The first 'Hangover' made Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and especially Zach Galifianakis stars, and it elevated Todd Phillips from middling Hollywood director to name-brand comic auteur. But in the film industry, success that surprising and enormous demands more success; the beast must be fed. But as 'The Hangover Part II' and especially the new 'Hangover Part III' prove, it is very hard to make a good sequel to a truly original idea. 'Part II' went the rehash route, recycling the plot of the first movie so brazenly you almost had to admire its chutzpah. 'Part III' finally breaks with the formula a little (SPOILER ALERT: there is no hangover), but still doesn't produce anything even remotely worthy of the first film.
'The Hangover Part 3' will bring the Wolfpack's adventures to an end, starting this Thursday, May 23. All the trailers, clips and posters are pegging this as an "epic conclusion" on the same lines as the 'Harry Potter' finale, so that means we have to ring in the final film in a big way -- with a 10-piece prize pack.
'The Hangover Part III' is due out in a week, and the one thing the trailers and posters have hammered home is that this is the final chapter of the series. The movie, which stars Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Ken Jeong, is promising closure and this latest (likely final) NSFW trailer plays up that this is the end.