After his father’s death, the rest of the ‘Wolf Pack’ tries to get Alan (Zach Galifianakis) to seek professional help for his…issues. Unfortunately, they hit a little snag on the way to the hospital as Doug (Justin Bartha- why does he continue to sign on for these?) is kidnapped by drug kingpin John Goodman and his goons. It seems Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) has made off with a whole lotta Goodman’s gold, and he wants the ‘Wolf Pack’ (minus Bartha, of course) to find Chow and get his loot back or else Doug bites it. Finding the elusive and very strange Mr. Chow is easier said than done, though, especially when Alan isn’t entirely forthcoming with the revelation that he and Mr. Chow email each other regularly. Heather Graham reprises her role from the first film, whilst a possible love interest for Alan is provided by Melissa McCarthy as a lonely Vegas pawn shop owner.
Even more tedious than its predecessors, this 2013 film from series director Todd Phillips and his co-writer Craig Mazin (“The Hangover Part II”) is only enlivened by Ken Jeong’s ridiculously over-the-top Chow, who proves to be disarmingly clever at times. There aren’t many laughs in the film, but he provides 99.99% of them (There’s a cute Billy Joel song cue at one point, but cute doesn’t mean funny). The scene where he sings the Johnny Cash version of ‘Hurt’ at karaoke is bloody funny, and easily one of the funniest things in any of these films (Easily because the films are generally painfully unfunny). Jeong gives the role everything he’s got, and while he’s annoying, the fact is he’s far more interesting than any of ‘The Wolf Pack’. I was worried that elevating him up the order would render him insufferable and annoying, but adding his disarmingly efficient super-criminal side helped with that, I think, or else he’d be relentlessly one-note. The biggest laugh in the film comes from a ridiculous but funny bit midway through the end credits. The fact that the best joke in the entire series (and features the only example of an actual hangover in the film I might add) comes after this film is basically over, is just bizarre to me and says a whole lot. Compare it to the opening scene, perhaps the only time you’ll find a man escaping a Bangkok prison immediately cutting to Zach Galifianakis driving with an unconvincing CGI giraffe literally in tow as ‘Mmm Bop’ underscores it. Ridiculous, yes. Funny? Not even close.
Galifianakis has always been one of the sorest of sore spots in these films for me and continues to be here. He is the creepiest, most off-putting person in movies today, and his character just doesn’t behave enough like a credible human being for me to find any of his behaviour remotely funny. Yes, this film does need to convince at least in its own reality, and Galifianakis’ Alan refuses to do so. Singing ‘Ave Maria’ at a funeral is apparently meant to be funny. It’s not. It’s just a random thing. Taking a selfie with the photo of his dad on his coffin? Really? No one could love this character, let alone put up with him for more than two hours of their precious time. He’s disgusting, weird, and unlikeable, and his so-called friends aren’t much better, sleazy Bradley Cooper especially. There is absolutely no reason why these guys can’t remove Galifianakis from their lives. Anyone else would.
Elsewhere, Melissa McCarthy is as unfunny as ever, Justin Bartha falls further down the credits than ever and gets left behind once again- is that meant to be a gag? Because it’s really not one. John Goodman is convincing and forceful as a drug kingpin- But why? Black Sabbath’s ‘N.I.B.’ is one helluva great song, but why is it used here? Because Ozzy took lots and lots of drugs? So?
No, this one’s just not for me, and even saying that I get the feeling that series fans will feel kinda ripped off by this one. I mean, there’s not even any Mike Tyson, and most of the regulars look incredibly disinterested in the whole thing. I largely disliked the first film, but at least I understood that someone out there might relate to its drink-and-debauchery plot, even if it didn’t resonate with me and my life personally. But this? I can’t even say the same for this one. Ken Jeong delivers the goods as best he can, but he can’t save this thing on his own. It’s really tedious stuff whenever he’s not around.