The Hangover Part III
Rated R for sexuality, drug use, violence, brief nudity and pervasive profanity
The Wolfpack Reunites And Returns To Vegas For Yetta Nudder Nutty Adventure
When we last left The Wolfpack, the boys were over in Thailand for the wedding of Stu (Ed Helms) and Lauren (Jamie Chung). Of course, before the bride and groom could tie the knot, the men found themselves separated from Doug (Justin Bartha) and suffering from amnesia following a wild night of partying on the seedy side of Bangkok.
But that was two years ago and now everybody has settled down safely into humdrum, uneventful lives in suburbanLos Angeles. Everybody except Alan (Zach Galifianakis), that is. He went off his meds recently, which might explain such bizarre behavior as driving down the freeway with a giraffe in a trailer.
Since the 42-year-old goofball is unlikely to get hitched any time soon, another bawdy bachelor party is not on the horizon. However, when Alan takes a turn for the worse after his father (Jeffrey Tambor) passes away suddenly, his pals stage an intervention and decide to drive him to a mental health facility inArizonafor the help he desperately needs.
But before they arrive, their car is run off the road and Doug is kidnapped for ransom by Chow (Ken Jeong), the modestly-endowed, trash-talking mobster you should remember from Hangover episodes I and II. He and his henchman (Mike Epps) demand that the wolfpack retrieve $21 million in gold stolen from them by Marshall (John Goodman), a ruthless rival who stashed the bars of bullion in the walls of a mansion located somewhere in Tijuana.
That is wacky point of departure of The Hangover Part III, a supposed trilogy finale which is an improvement over the decidedly derivative prior installment yet still pales in comparison to the zany original. At least you don’t develop a nagging sense of déjà vu watching this screwball adventure, even if it isn’t exactly laugh out loud funny.
The madcap antics take Phil (Bradley Cooper) and the rest of the road warriors south of the border and then on to Las Vegas, the place where it all started, for another round of raunchy male-bonding rituals. Stu stumbles upon his ex (Heather Graham) and Alan crosses paths with the woman of his dreams (Melissa McCarthy), a big hint that the trilogy is destined to be stretched into a fourple.
A nutty kitchen sink comedy ending on a cliffhanger designed to keep die-hard fans of the depraved franchise in suspense about whether yetta nudder sequel might be in the works.
Very Good (3 stars)
Running time: 100 minutes
Unmade In China
7th Art Releasing/Antidote Films
Big Brother Documentary Highlights American Filmmaker’s Frustrations In China
Inspired by a YouTube video that went viral, Gil Kofman decided to make a movie about a lonely girl trapped in a basement. The L.A. director subsequently contracted to shoot the thriller Case Sensitive in China, the nation now with the third largest film industry behind the United States and India.
Unfortunately, Gil forgot to factor into the equation that not only is the government there thoroughly corrupt, but dissent is not allowed. Consequently, the production would be plagued by delays due to bureaucratic red tape and the presence on the set of government censors who demanded everything from seven politically and cultural-correct rewrites of the script to the replacement of cast members with actors approved by the Communist Party.
Worse, Gil’s complaints about any of the above only fell on deaf ears, and he was even warned that he would lose should he try to assert any legal rights. The frustrated filmmaker failed to find any sympathetic shoulder among the locals since, as he puts it, “The whole country has been benevolently brainwashed.”
In the end, however, the picture was a hit, at least inChina, where it was released on 2,000 screens. But Gil never saw a dime of that money. And to add insult to injury, bootleg copies of the film were being sold in Asian bodegas all over theU.S.within a few months, rendering it worthless theatrically upon his return to the States.
His anguish as a result of the extended nightmare is carefully captured in Unmade In China, a flick which is a horrible advertisement for entering any business enterprise with the Communists. Still, while watching this gullible American get rolled for his work product, you can’t help but wonder why he didn’t cut his losses and give up after the first week of being given so much grief.
A comical account of a yearlong, money-burning party which ought to serve as a sobering warning for any equally-naïve entrepreneur considering investing inChina.
Excellent (3.5 stars)
In English and Mandarin with subtitles
Running time: 90 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening May 31, 2013
After Earth (PG-13 for action violence and disturbing images). M. Night Shyamalan directs this post-apocalyptic, sci-fi saga about a military general (Will Smith) with a teenage son (Jaden Smith) who are the only survivors of a crash landing of an expedition to Earth a millennium after the cataclysmic event that forced humans to abandon the planet. With Sophie Okonedo, Isabelle Fuhrman and Zoe Kravitz.
The Kings Of Summer (R for profanity and underage alcohol consumption). Coming-of-age comedy about three teenagers (Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias) who decide to demonstrate their independence by spending the summer living off the land while building a home in woods. With Nick Offerman, Alison Brie and Megan Mullally.
Now You See Me (PG-13 for profanity, sexuality and violence). Cat-and-mouse thriller about a French Interpol agent (Melanie Laurent) who teams with the FBI to catch a quartet of Robin Hood-style magicians (Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Jesse Eisenberg and Dave Franco) who steal from corrupt businessmen before showering their audiences with money during performances. A-list cast includes Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Mark Ruffalo and Common.
The East (PG-13 for violence, sexuality, partial nudity, mature themes and disturbing images). Espionage thriller about a private eye (Brit Marling) hired to infiltrate an anti-establishment organization suspected of sabotaging corporations who finds herself falling for the anarchist outfit’s very charismatic leader (Alexander Skarsgard). With Ellen Page, Patricia Clarkson, Toby Kebbell andShiloh Fernandez.
The History Of Future Folk (Unrated). Sci-fi comedy about a couple of aliens (Nils D’Aulaire and Jay Klaitz) sent to earth from a faraway planet who ignore their orders to wipe out humanity and instead form a band after falling in love with bluegrass music.
Shadow Dancer (R for profanity and violence). Turncoat drama, set in Belfast in the ‘90s, revolving around a member of the Irish Republican Army (Andrea Riseborough) who becomes a snitch for the British in order to remain free to raise her young son after being caught with a bomb in her possession. With Clive Owen, Gillian Anderson, Aidan Gillen and Brid Brennan.
Triumph Of The Wall (Unrated). Buddy documentary that took eight years to complete about a couple of Canadian pals’ two-month road trip.