Hangover-3-MexicoSome sequels were never meant to be made. You could argue that The Hangover Part II is one of them. But there’s no argument about The Hangover Part III. It is an indisputably unnecessary and unfunny sequel.

The first film in The Hangover franchise was a fresh and hilarious, and it catapulted Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, and Ed Helms to stardom. The second film was still funny, but it suffered by being unoriginal and over the top in its comedy. This third film tries to take a different direction than the first two. It’s The Hangover without without a hangover. And the result is a bland attempt at comedy that isn’t particularly funny or memorable. It was as if director Todd Phillips joined with Cooper, Galifianakis, and Helms to just pick up a big check from Warner Bros. and ride off into the sunset.

The Hangover Part III begins two years after its predecessor with Alan (Galifianakis) proving to need mental help, particularly after the death of his father (Jeffrey Tambor). After an intervention is staged, his “friends” Phil (Cooper), Stu (Helms), and Doug (Justin Bartha) agree to drive him to a treatment facility in Arizona. At roughly the same time, Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) has escaped from a Thailand prison and is bound for North America.

Knowing that Chow has been in communication with Alan, mobster Marshall (John Goodman) captures the “Wolfpack” on their roadtrip. Marshall forces them to find Chow, in order to help recover gold that the Asian prisoner had previously stolen from him, and he holds Doug hostage as collateral. Once again, Bartha is off-screen for most of a Hangover film, while his friends wind up on their share of misadventures. Alan, Phil, and Stu travel to Tijuana and eventually get back to Las Vegas, as they desperately attempt to get out of their bizarre predicament and return to normalcy.

Galifianakis was a scene stealer in the first two films, but his lines lack punch in this third installment. He’s good for a few cackles, but there’s nothing exceptional or original about his performance this time around. Similarly, it seems like Cooper just drives around and seems annoyed by his role, hoping to receive a large payday and a script that will earn him another Oscar nomination. Helms’ character isn’t quite as whiny as he was in the first two films. After all, his teeth and face are in tact. He has no controlling girlfriend or bride at the altar to lie to. He’s just there to get through everything.

Jeong has a much larger role in this third film. And while he has some decent lines, his character gets a little old. He was fine with a bit part in the first film. But it wasn’t any bigger than Mike Tyson’s memorable part. Tyson is conspicuously absent in Part III, and it’s a shame that his airtime has been handed over entirely to Jeong. Heather Graham makes another appearance on screen, but it’s really for no reason other than to say she was in the movie.

The one supporting character who does shine is Melissa McCarthy. Arguably the film’s best part comes when she interacts with Galifianakis, and the two exchange in a hilarious banter. But that humor is missing everywhere else in the film. The gags aren’t particularly interesting. There’s no mystery to solve, like in the first two films when the guys try to piece the previous night together. Instead, it’s just a weird and lame pseudo action comedy.

It’s not surprising that the film disappoints, considering the first film stood perfectly well on its own merits. There was nowhere to take the franchise for Part II, and there was especially nowhere to take this series for Part III. Phillips and Warner Bros. say that this will be the last film in the Hangover series. Let’s hope so.