A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while The Hangover Part III deviates from the structure of the first two installments, it doesn't skimp at all on the over-the-top, R-rated raunch that defines the franchise. After a harrowing kidnapping, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) stumble into all manner of mishaps trying to rescue their pal, Doug (Justin Bartha). Expect tons of strong language ("f--k," "s--t," and more), violence (guns, knives, animal cruelty), danger, alcohol and drug use, and sexual content (including scenes that show bare breasts and male genitals). While perhaps not quite as over the top as the last installment, this is still iffy for anyone except the most mature teens and adults.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
After an unnerving pileup on the Los Angeles freeway triggered by a giraffe (yes, you read that correctly), Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Doug (Justin Bartha) find themselves driving the fourth member of their quartet, Alan (Zach Galifianakis), to a rehab facility in Arizona. Suddenly they're forced off the road and kidnapped by a gangster (John Goodman), who demands they track down an old friend who may have hidden millions in stolen gold. The gang is forced into the mysterious underworld of Tijuana, and then it's back to their old stomping grounds, Las Vegas, where they careen from one crazy escapade to another. Heather Graham returns as a retired stripper, and Melissa McCarthy appears in a role that reveals an entirely new side of Alan.
Is it any good?
Here's the biggest takeaway from THE HANGOVER PART III: It's better than Part II. Better pacing, better storytelling, even better camera work in some cases. (There's a fantastic bit involving a parachute that showcases Las Vegas' glory.) That said, it's still nowhere near as funny as the original Hangover, a bromance that expanded the definition of the buddy movie and gave us an uneasy but potent mix of outrageous hilarity. There aren't as many seriously funny moments in the Wolf Pack third outing (though there are some) and too many attempts to characterize what's actually morbid and dreary -- a son's response to his father's death, for instance, and the smothering of an animal -- as comical. (There's actually more than one joke about killing an animal -- not funny, for the record.)
And the franchise is showing its age; the whole enterprise just seems duller, even the usually ridiculous Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong). Nonetheless, the Hangover films have always managed to uncover an essential truth about bromances, and this one's no exception. The chemistry is palpable among the leads, and capturing that onscreen is a fitting final tribute.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Hangover movies depict drinking, drug use, and wild behavior. Is the film condoning or glorifying any of this?
How does The Hangover Part III differ from the prior Hangover films? How is it similar?
Talk about the friendships at the core of this series. Do the men seem like real pals? What would you endure to save a friend in danger?
- In theaters: May 23, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: October 8, 2013
- Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis
- Director: Todd Phillips
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity