The worst comedy I’ve seen in years.

Genre: Comedy
Premise: While bringing Alan to a treatment center, the Wolf Pack is bombarded by a Vegas heavyweight, who tells them that they must bring him their nemesis, Chow, or Doug will be killed.
About: Director Todd Phillips shared writing duties on this one with Hangover 2 scribe, Craig Mazin. Mazin was scraping the bottom of the comedy barrel for awhile, writing a couple of “Scary Movie” sequels, before getting a huge break to work on Hangover 2. He parlayed that into the hit film, “Identify Thief,” and now Hangover 3.
Writers: Todd Phillips and Craig Mazin (original characters by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore)
Details: 100 minutes


Oh my.

There’s this song by the Lumineers that’s out right now where the chorus goes: “Ho!… Hey!”

I would officially like to change those lyrics to: “No!… Way!” in response to this movie.

I don’t want to go overboard here but people need to be held responsible for this atrocity. I’m not going to ask for the equivalent of the Nuremberg Trials but I kind of want to ask for the equivalent to the Nuremberg trials. Craig Mazin was in full “Scary Movie” mode here. Todd Phillips decided to make a movie that didn’t have a single laugh in it.

This was bad, folks. Really really really really bad.

Like, those guys owe me my money back, bad. This wasn’t even a movie. I understand the concept behind cash grabs. But these humor rapists went a step further and laughed in our faces as they stole our money. So I take what I said earlier back. There was one joke that worked. The one that was on us.

The plot? Okay, um, sheesh. It went something like this. Alan (Zach G.) is acting weird so everyone stages an intervention so he’ll go get help at a treatment facility. Um – WHAT?? That’s not how interventions work. Interventions are for when you drink too much or do too many drugs. When you’re, like, addicted to something. So not five minutes in and already the plot doesn’t make sense.

So the “Wolf Pack” (Alan, Doug, Stew, and Phil) is on its way to this facility when John Goodman runs them off the road and tells them, inexplicably, that Chow stole money from him a long time ago and since they kind of know Chow, he’s taking Doug and giving them 72 hours (because “why not” 72 hours!) to find Chow and bring him to him.

They eventually meet up with Chow in Tijuana (because “why not” Tijuana!) who quickly figures out what they’re up to and decides to help them. So they go to Chow’s ex-house where he was storing the gold he stole from John Goodman, break in, and steal it. But just as they’re all about to leave, Chow locks them in and takes off with the gold! Oh no!

What’s worse, they’re snagged the very next day by John Goodman, again, who informs them that they just broke into HIS HOUSE and stole HIS GOLD. That wily Chow tricked them good! So now they have to get Chow again, who’s driven off to…. VEGAS. Oh rats! It’s going to end where it all began. Or something. Kill me now. It cannot get any worse than this. I’m done with this summary. It pains me too much to relive this atrocity.

Okay, probably the most bizarre thing about this script is that either Phillips or Maizen seems to hate animals. As you’ve probably seen in the commercials, Alan is driving a giraffe he just bought down the highway. This is the first scene of the movie. Well, what you don’t see is the giraffe’s head gets decapitated by the overpass – WHICH WE SEE – and it goes flying up and landing in the windshield of the car behind them.

What. The. Fuck.

You just gruesomely killed a giraffe – one of the most beloved animals on earth – in your very first freaking scene? Are you that stupid? No, seriously. Are you that stupid? One of the first things they teach you in screenwriting is not to kill animals onscreen. So Phillips and Mazin take a giraffe and decapitate it? And think it’s funny? Right at that moment, Miss Scriptshadow turned to me and said, “I want to leave.”

But that’s not it. After that wonderful scene to start the comedy, in the very next scene we watch as Alan’s dad has a heart attack and dies! So we just watched a giraffe get killed, which is then followed by a character dying of a heart attack. This is a comedy, right? No, seriously. This is a comedy, right? I’m just checking because I thought comedies were supposed to be funny. Not have a bunch of killing and dying.

Oh, but there’s more! Chow kills a chicken later, smothering it with a pillow until it stops moving. Then snaps a couple of dogs’ necks, which was thankfully off-screen, although I’m sure Mazin originally had it onscreen and someone with some sense finally came to these morons and said, “We can’t have this much animal-killing in a comedy.” Phillips and Mazin were likely pissed but allowed it in a compromise.

But that’s just the beginning of the problems here. The beauty about the original Hangover’s premise was that all the exposition was taken care of in 30 seconds. Doug’s missing. We need to find him to get him back to his wedding in time, but we were so wasted last night that we don’t remember anything. That was it! That’s all we needed to know, which allowed the writers to just have fun with the premise.

Of the first 60 minutes of Hangover 3, I’d say about 30 minutes of it is dedicated to exposition. We have Alan needing an intervention, then finding a place for him to go to, then needing a reason for the Wolf Pack to have to take him, then Chow breaking out of jail, then John Goodman talking forever about how Chow stole money from him, then why we need to go down to Tijuana, then why we need to break into this house, then why we need to go back to Vegas. There was rarely a scene where exposition wasn’t needed. Which was why the movie was so incredibly effing boring. Exposition = boring.

And the thing about exposition is that you use it so the audience understands what’s going on. The irony here, then, is that the more they used it, the more confusing things got, because audiences hate exposition. They hate constant explaining. So they tune out if there’s too much of it, and you’re actually accomplishing the opposite of what you set out to do.

Then there was Alan and Chow. It’s important to understand how to use characters in screenwriting, something Mazin apparently forgot. There are certain characters who are good at certain things, and therefore should only be used for those certain things, and characters who are good in small doses, which is why they should only be used in small doses.

Alan is the kind of character who should never be driving a movie. He’s the kind of character who’s best when reacting to situations. He needs to be off to the side, saying funny things here and there. That’s when he’s at his best. The second you try to make him the main character, you’re done. Because he was never meant to be a main character. Quirky super-weird characters just don’t have the meat necessary to drive a story. And therefore, Mazin and Phillips take one of the funnier comedy characters of the last decade and make him annoying. Cause there’s so damn much of him.

Speaking of “so damn much,” the same can be said of Chow. Chow is a classic “small doses” character. He needs to be popping out of trunks naked, not sitting in apartments giving long monologues. Chow sounds weird when he talks a lot. His accent isn’t as funny. His dialogue feels forced. Because he was NEVER MEANT TO TALK THAT MUCH. This is the case of the writers misreading what made Hangover good. Yes, Chow and Alan were hilarious in the initial movie. But they were hilarious for the specific reason that they were fitting their roles. Take them out of those roles and they don’t work anymore.

Many people have said that the actors didn’t even look like they wanted to be in the movie – that they all knew this was a cash grab and therefore phoned it in. I agree that they look bored, but I don’t think it’s because it was a cash grab. I think it’s because the writing sucked. How do you get into your character when what your character is doing doesn’t even make sense? Or when you can’t justify the existence of your character in a scene? Or in the movie! You can’t make something out of nothing. You can’t make something feel real and honest when nothing about them is real or honest.

I suppose I could go on here, but what would be the point? This was a misfire on every level. I actually liked The Hangover 2. Sure, they ripped off the plot of the first film, but at least it was a plot that worked. This was a never-ending mess of bad plot points. So much so that I’m bringing back an old rating that’s been dead on this site for awhile. I’m sorry, this was that bad. Mazin and Phillips owe me and everyone else who saw this movie our money back.

[x] trash
[ ] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: Beware of over-plotting, which you’ll know is happening if you’re constantly having to use exposition throughout your screenplay. Usually, the best comedy premises are set up quickly. If you’re still having to explain where your characters are going and why halfway into your story, you’re probably over-plotting your script.

  • Kieran ODea

    sounds like you should have seen the new fast and furious movie where for once the action is good enough to make you overlook the poor story.

  • UrbaneGhoul

    Save the cat, kill the giraffe.

  • jridge32



  • Midnight Luck

    I feel exactly the same.

    One of the top 3 worst movies ever.

    Why on earth were they so in love with hurting animals on screen?

    After all the killing, there is a scene where the Wolf pack has just poisoned the dogs before breaking into the house to steal the gold. At this point one of them asks if it was really necessary to hurt the dogs and Bradley Cooper’s character says “They’re just dogs, who gives a Fuck?”. What? are you F’ng kidding me? One of the main characters says that?

    I DID NOT like Hangover 2, and for some ridiculous reason decided to see this one, and, I think it will piss me off for the next 10 years.

    And how can it have lacked ANY humor at all? It was the unfunniest movie ever.

    And yes, I was appalled at how the whole movie was a giant EXPOSITION DUMP. It was like having my fingernails pulled out by a MONSTER TRUCK. It was horrific. If this much has to be explained to us by characters on screen in EVERY SINGLE SCENE, well, time to go back and start a PG. ONE rewrite. What you got, is not working.

    Criminal. They should be locked up at Guantanamo with all the heads of Wall Street and suffer from Chinese water torture for the rest of their lives.

  • Lisa Aldin

    Agreed. I wanted to leave after the giraffe scene too. Then I really, really wanted to leave after the rooster scene. Which was awful. People were uncomfortable. You could feel it. I did like a few lines at the end, and thought the flashbacks to all of them walking was sort of sweet (and a relief because it felt like this was really, really the end. good.) but I was already too disgusted to really care.

    You should go see Before Midnight, Mr. Reeves! There’s a trilogy that may be enjoyable. I’m anxiously awaiting June 14 when it comes around to my little city!

  • Paulo

    An awful film for sure, but it’s weird that you’re more outraged about all the death (human and animal) because it breaks screenwriting ‘rules’ as opposed to it just being bad filmmaking.

    • JakeBarnes12

      It’s bad filmmaking because it breaks the rules.

      The “rules” are principles based on hard-won experience of what works and what doesn’t on the page and on the screen.

    • seanfast

      well this is a site about screenwriting, not filmmaking, so that probably explains why he focuses more on the breaking of screenwriting rules.

      sure its bad filmmaking. but it’s a bigger mistake to point out how someone who knows so much about screenwriting dos and donts wrote a movie with a scene in it that breaks one of the oldest tenants in the book. and one of the most egregious too.

      if a politician cheats on his wife, its news. but if that politician is the head of the family values committee, its now headline news.

  • Logline_Villain

    Fool me once (Hangover 2), shame on you…
    Fool me twice (Hangover 3), shame on me.

  • Citizen M

    I wonder if they used that company that does computerised script analysis.

    “The computer tells us that only 49% of people would laugh if the giraffe ducked its head. 51% thinks hitting its head is funny.”

    • Citizen M

      This is what happens when you feed Adam Sandler movies into a computer.

  • Abdul Fataki

    No, Carson, just no. I told you DON’T WATCH HANGOVER 3 – Watch Fast 6 instead. It’s an action movie that’s actually FUNNIER than a comedy film (Hangover 3). It’s also the sixth installment of a popular franchise, so popular that after the film ended EVERYONE was pumped for the seventh!

    Hangover is basically a one film premise, i.e. we can’t believe that the same shit would happen twice and then again in the third one. Same goes with Taken.

  • JakeBarnes12

    I gotta be honest. When I see comedy as the genre during Amateur Weekends, I skip it. Heck, back in the glory days of Scriptshadow when we discussed new pro scripts, I’d still skip most comedies.

    Yet I love to watch a good comedy. I have fond memories of catching “There’s Something About Mary” and “American Pie” with friends in packed theaters on warm California evenings and laughing until it hurt.

    But the reason I skip most comedy movies, most pro comedies and all amateur comedies is simple; they’re so damn hard to write. You have to have the skill to do character and plot and goals and stakes, all the usual stuff, AND on top of that be consistently funny.

    I have a theory about most wannabe comedy writers. These are guys who are maybe twenty-two and they have a group of college friends, and they all go out and get wasted together, and their college friends say to them, “Dude, you’re so funny. You should write a screenplay.” So based on these five drunk friends telling them they’re funny, these guys go off and try to write NINETY PAGES of funny.

    It’s like cause you can keep it up with your girlfriend for seven minutes you think you can stay hard on a porn shoot for three hours.

    That’s why there are so few great comedy scripts — thousands of guys who haven’t learned how to create great characters or tell a compelling story trying to be funny and not realizing the funny comes from the characters and the story, not ad libs to your wasted buddies.

  • Cfrancis1

    Wow. I heard it was bad. But it sounds like a total train wreck. Not even sure if I’ll watch it on HBO at one o’clock in the morning. And I’ll watch almost anything on HBO at one o’clock in the morning!

  • Colin

    I can only assume Philips had the oomph at the Studio to get the giraffe in. All the animal torture was completely unnecessary. Surely Maizen knew better.

    To me the best part of the first one was the dynamic between cooper and helms which played well of Galifinakis and whatever weirdo they encountered. This was all Chow and Allan who were at best side gags in the first one.

    Makes you wonder if Lucas and Moore had been kept on how it would be. i read their original draft which was much different than the draft that became the first hangover. It was hilarious.

    I have no fear. I believe in our raunchy society there is a place for the R-Rated comedy. Hopefully we get something better than we’re the millers trailer in the near future…

  • filmklassik

    Yeah, based on everything I’ve been hearing this movie is a friggin’ disaster. I didn’t care for the first installment (sorry, guys), skipped part 2 and will be keeping far away from part 3.

    But I think there’s a difference between writing an intricately plotted story and an overplotted one. Isn’t it true that a movie is only “over”-plotted when the audience stops caring? This applies to comedies as well. BACK TO THE FUTURE was one of the most exposition-heavy comedies ever made and it works like gangbusters. It delighted a generation.

  • themovienerd

    This is going to really help the armistice talks in the Mazin/August – Reeves feud…

    On this one though, no question. Fully agree with Reeves. Painful, painful movie. Cash grab at its worst. Everything I hate about HW. I did expect more. I did. I naively had high hopes. But the whole experience made me feel like I was date raped and left for dead in a dumpster of oyster shells. So. Dirty. So. Ashamed. So. Hurt.

  • Kay Bryen

    I didn’t laugh throughout, but I did chuckle once — and I’ll tell you which part that was:

    So John Goodman is narrating how they sold drugs to this ‘sheikh’ from Abu Dhabi. Now Abu Dhabi happens to be in my country, but whatever, it’s a comedy, I’ll play along. Then apparently this sheikh paid Goodman not only in 42 gold bars, but also threw in two of his wives for good measure. Hmm, ok, I don’t care if anyone gets offended; if it’s funny I’ll laugh — what else was I expecting from an R-rated comedy right?

    But here’s the kicker: the ‘sheikh’ they show is quite clearly Saudi. (To be from Abu Dhabi, he’d have to be Emirati). I genuinely don’t expect most outsiders to be able to tell the difference. Apparently us Arabs are interchangeable — pretty much like Kardashians.

    I’d be the first to laugh if it was an intentional stereotype (like the one in Hangover 2 about Asian girls’ busts, or lack of); but this is a simple case of ignorance, and it ain’t blissful.

    • IgorWasTaken

      OK. How is the movie already playing there? And, I’ll bite: How can one tell the difference between a Saudi and an Emirati just by looking?

      • Jim

        Why is the movie already playing there?


        The trend is for blockbusters to open overseas before they do in the US (not that The Hangover 3 is a blockbuster.) There were several recent articles regarding this, one here:

        And another here:

        • IgorWasTaken

          Uh, I didn’t ask “Why?” But, thanks for answering your own question.

          And I’ll assume, Jim, that you don’t know about film distribution in the Middle East.

          I know many movies open outside the US, but UAE is a relatively small market. And thus, my surprise.

          • Jim

            Alright smartass. How is with a fucking projector.

          • IgorWasTaken

            Nope. Try again. That doesn’t resolve the “already playing there” in my question.

            But thanks for your generosity.

            (Oh, and your “Money” answer wasn’t “smartass”?)

          • Jim

            No, it wasn’t intended to be a smartass answer.

            You asked “how” is it the movie is playing there – to which I attributed to being “an outside market” which, in turn, sparked the recollection of an article I had read just this morning.

            I gave the short answer and posted the links that go into further detail as I, myself, was surprised to see this trend start recently because I follow pirating issues in music and film and this trend, at first glance, would appear to be detrimental until one realizes foreign receipts now comprise an overwhelming majority of a blockbuster’s gross.

            Had I been attempting to be a smartass, I wouldn’t have bothered posting the links to the articles.

          • Citizen M

            Igor’s question could be interpreted as asking whether the movie was getting good box office numbers in the UAE.

            But I assumed he meant why is it that the movie is showing in the UAE before it goes on circuit in the USA.

            I was going to quip because it’s a shiite movie, but I see they’re mostly Sunnis.

          • Writer451

            “because it’s a shiite movie, but I see they’re mostly Sunnis.”

            Haaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahaha! You just made my day a little better. Thank you.

      • Kay Bryen

        How’ve you been Igor? To answer your question, I was (un)lucky enough to see Hangover 3 early because I traveled over your Memorial weekend.

        As for Saudis vs Emiratis, there are subtle differences; not all of which are easy to explain to a neutral (e.g. the differences in Arabic dialect).

        To a casual observer, your best clue is probably the kaffiyeh headdress (not to be confused with ‘kafir’ – an often derogatory term for ‘Unbeliever’. Seriously, don’t confuse the two – your conversation will get awkward in a hurry :-)

        Anyway the red checkered pattern is favored in Saudi Arabia (or “The Kingdom”, as they like to call it. Sigh.), and the plain white here. Obviously there’s no absolute rule that forbids you from wearing the other color; but I’d still tell because it’s not just about color, but how you wear it. Just to make it more confusing, your attire can also tell me if you’ve completed the Hajj (pilgrimage), and whether you come from a country with a monarchy.

        As for my Saudi sisters well, you can easily tell them by their —– driving >wink<

        • IgorWasTaken

          Thanks. Yeh, those Saudi women should spend more time practicing at home! What’s up with that?

          Imagine a scene with 3 women wearing Abaya (abayas?). The good guys know 2 are from the US and 1 is from Saudi Arabia, and they need to pick out the Saudi without lifting their veils, so they just put them in 3 cars and the one who drives into a parked car is the Saudi?

          As for men’s clothing, in defense of we “infidels” in the west, those are rather small differences. Except maybe for the checkered/non-checkered. (In some U.S. cities, that’s how we can distinguish one cab company from another.)

          (And as you may know, there’s a word like “kafir” that’s troublesome in a whole different way in South Africa.)

          Yet, I do try to get the clothing and other “ethnic” stuff right. (Though, at the end of the day, it only has to be credible to Americans.) Recently, I’ve been struggling with the names and regionalism of Muslim female garb in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. And so, hijab can be a head scarf, but apparently it can also be other things…? And it depends on which country and whether the girl/woman is above some age and if she’s married as to whether she’d be expected to wear one, and…? Oy!

          Kay, if you can help me with any of this, lemme know. Use my nom de ScriptShadow at yahoo dot com.

      • JL

        Looks like we have a down-voting troll…Nasty little buggers. Where’s our troll spray!?

  • Zadora

    As soon as I heard about the giraffe, I knew I didn’t want to see this film and I loved the first Hangover.

    Remember that writers! People don’t want to see animals killed on screen. :(

    • Citizen M

      For you, I save-a the bull.

      • Nickmistro

        Why is everyone so stuck on the animal cruelty thing? You’re more offended by a giraffe decapitation then that innocent kid in the second one getting a finger lopped off? Really?
        All you PETA hippies should consider boycotting There’s Something About Mary then because they hot-wired the dog that was drugged with amphetamines :D

        • Zadora

          PETA hippie? I just agreed with Carson that killing of animals is not funny.

          As far as Hangover 2 goes, I’ve only seen bits and pieces of it. Had I seen an innocent kid getting his finger cut off, I wouldn’t have thought that was funny either.

          • Nickmistro

            ;) I just find it hilarious that out of all the stuff that should turns someone off of the hangovers it’s that animal violence.
            And come on people, I’m being facetious, the PETA insult was purposefully hyperbolic to address the irony, but pardon me if it offended ya.
            Also, okay fine, the dog didn’t actually die in TSAM, but what about those poor poor fish in A Fish Called Wanda that Auto eats? I damn near put in a call to Greenpeace after that

          • Zadora

            I wasn’t offended. I just find it interesting how people are so quick to assume things about someone on the internet.

            I think Seanfast is spot on.

            I actually had my protag kill his own cat in a vampire horror I wrote…

          • seanfast

            i think sometimes people have trouble grasping sarcasm or facetiousness when reading text and not hearing you say it, so i give you the benefit of the doubt now that i know how you meant it. ;)

        • seanfast

          im not offended. but it doesnt mean its appealing either. and it doesnt mean its funny. americans love their pets, and they love animals. every screenwriting book in the world will tell you you establish your villain by having him kick a dog. and you establish your hero by having him “save the cat”.

          you dont needlessly kill animals (esp for humor) and expect the audience to fall in love with your movie.

          p.s. that dog in something about mary lives, so no one was mad. you cut off a giraffe’s head with an overpass and people arent gonna love your character.

    • Andrew Mullen

      It’s all the context and execution.

      But I always think back to Tom Hanks on Letterman talking about Turner and Hooch (which had a pretty brutal dog death) and him basically just repeating “DON’T. KILL. THE DOG.” over and over.

      From 8m16s on.

      Some key quotes, “Jeffery Katzenberg still drives by my house shaking his fist […] it cost us 25 million at the box office.” and “They now have that written in topiary hedges at Disney. Do. Not. Kill. The. Dog.”

    • jridge32

      Can you explain the success of “Cannibal Holocaust”, then?

      • seanfast

        what scale of success are we talking here?
        you’re using an example of a grindhouse movie that made a lot of money before being seized and confiscated by authorities. a movie where the scenes of animal cruelty are often censored out.
        a movie where part of the appeal is the shock value. it doesnt mean people approve of cruelty to animals.

        it should also be noted that the director said this about the animal cruelty:
        “Deodato himself has condemned his past actions,[10] saying “I was stupid to introduce animals.””

    • jridge32

      Or “Walkabout”?


    Every franchise installment this summer is bad: The Hangover 3, Star Trek into Darkness, Ironman 3, Fast and Furious 6 (that last one is my own damn fault because I don’t like the franchise, but I kind of liked the fifth one, which is why I went).

    Man of Steel–Please be good.

  • JL

    Even the first Hangover was just…meh… unfortunately our society’s standards for comedy have plunged with our values.

    • David

      Get off my lawn!

      • JL

        Er…okay :)

  • Palangi

    After what I’d read of reports – couldn’t do it. Having read Carson’s review (and some of the posts) – glad I didn’t.

  • witwoud

    I couldn’t even finish the first Hangover film, it was too crass. Think I’ll take a pass on this. Nice roast, Carson.

    • filmklassik

      Yeah, I agree 100%… but “crass” seems to be the order of the day these days for comedies directed at young men. This also applies to most TV shows as well (see WORKAHOLICS).

      Kinda sad, really.

  • ripleyy

    I found Identity Thief really funny and the dialogue – at least, to me – was really great (then again, I believe the reason it worked so well was because of Bateman and McCarthy) so I was surprised to hear how bad this is.

    But, then again, why am I so surprised? Mazin’s life was ruined the moment he started writing Scary Movie films. Your career isn’t condemned to a lifetime of misery, because I do think most of it comes down to Phillips, who for the life of me, still has a job. Everything he’s done so far is so astronomically bad that even scientists can’t calculate how much of a disaster his career is.

    • filmklassik

      I up-voted your comment as a salve to my conscience as I am about to savage it with the following post. Are you ready? Here we go…



      ARE YOU HIGH??!!

      Whew! Okay. There. Out of my system. We now rejoin Script Shadow, already in progress…

      • ripleyy

        Well, when I use the words “really funny” and “great dialogue”, I mean average, and by average, it was a lot better than The Hangover 3.

        I guess I should have used air-quotes instead.

        • filmklassik

          Ha! Got it. And if it means anything (and I thought of writing this an hour ago) I feel truly chastened right now, and by “truly chastened” I mean “embarrassed for my obnoxious behavior.”

      • Matty

        I actually was high and Identity Thief fucking sucked.

    • IgorWasTaken

      Maybe not scientists, but I assume his accountants are happy.

  • Mb

    I’m with Mrs. Scriptshadow on this one.

  • Somersby
  • Ken

    What happened to Jon Lucas and Scott Moore?

    • UrbaneGhoul

      They’ve done The Change Up and 21 and Over since Hangover.

      • Ken

        They’re the ones who made The Hangover franchise successful, with their neat plot for part 1.

  • deanb

    So, is “beheading the giraffe” the cinema version of TVs “jump the shark” now?

  • seanfast

    i just posted a long rant about this, but i dont get how mazin can write such crap and have such good advice on his podcast. it baffles me. everything wrong with hangover 3 sounds like amateur stuff mazin has pointed out never to do on the podcast. he’s not clueless to these flaws.

  • Murphy

    Trash? love it, great review Carson.

    I haven’t seen the film, I actually haven’t even seen the trailer, and yet I already agree with everything you have written. The second movie told me all I need to know about how this one would end up.

    I heard a good comment from a reviewer the other day, which was along the line of what you said about the actors not wanting to be there. Only he stated that it was clear that the Director obviously did not want to make this movie. That makes some sense, again I haven’t seen it yet.

    I will watch it though, I am sure I will, it will be worth paying a couple of dollars to download or it might even be worth stealing…


  • Writer451

    I’m curious to see how people will react to the animal cruelty in AMERICAN HUSTLE b/c in the draft I read, they shoot a dog after shoving a finger up its rectum… and this is supposed to be an Oscar contender.

    • seanfast

      is it played for laughs? or to show the cruelty of a character? american hustle is a drama right? not a low brow comedy like the hangover series

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        What’s the difference ? And why use animals to show the cruelty of a character or, even worse, to generate laughs ? Animals suffer enough cruelty each and every day in real life. Do we really need to see it on screen as well, even if the action is fake or the animal is CGI ? There’s no other way to portray a character’s cruelty ?

        This is not directed at you, Seanfast, just airing my thoughts :-)

  • Nickmistro

    whoops, my bad with Otto– and I claim to love that movie, yeesh :/

    Sean is dead on of course. And I wasn’t assuming anything about anyone, I was merely being douchey and stirring the pot to illustrate that as a culture we get up in arms and object more to needless animal violence than the fact that rapey and baby-eating Tyson is cracking one-liners to spin his PR image into a better light.

    • seanfast

      agree with all of this, 100% (esp the part about how right i am lol).

      there were people who were offended at tyson in hangover 1, so at least some people were publicly outraged by that. to answer your question about otto and the fish, id point out that he was the villain in the movie, torturing a good guy who was helpless, loveable to the audience, and pathetic, by tying him up and making him watch as the bad guy ate his prized, loved pets alive. its the kick the dog scene for the villain. i havent seen hangover 3, but alan is certainly not the bad guy. if you show the good guys treat animals poorly, that’s where you run into trouble. you can show bad guys mistreating animals (to varying degrees of cruelty depending on the seriousness of your film) and it doesnt sit well with the audience either but they direct that animosity or uncomfortableness at the antagonist, where the writer thinks its belongs. then when the villain gets his justice, the audience can subconsciously say “YEAH! thats what you get for kicking that dog earlier mr. bad guy!”

      • Nickmistro

        Well the thing that I love about AFCW is that we still love Palin’s character (even though he’s trying to assassinate a perfectly innocent and old, pathetic, harmless woman) but we still get really pissed that Otto is eating his beloved fish.
        The way comedy can warp our sensibilities about something like that (fish versus human life) is the magic that H3 obviously missed in a big way.

  • Nickmistro

    So death and not maiming is the difference… mmkay… what about Boondock Saints when they accidentally blow the cat away? That scene was hilarious IMO, but then again, I think we should be able to eat our pets after they pass away and make moccasins out of them

  • johnny_ironjacket

    Blindingly good demolition of a worthless movie. But why spare Hangovers 1 & 2 from a damned good thrashing, as well? H1 was idiotic with dreary cliched characters and a sub-prime plot – Chow and Alan were not hilarious in the first film, just irritating and two-dimensional. Carson seems to be confusing technical adequacy (ie simple story, minimal exposition, by-the-numbers structure) with entertainment and intelligence. H2 is simply more of the same but even flatter and clunkier than H1 (if that is possible). Thank you, though, for telling it how it was on H3 and for giving the smug Mazin something to ruminate on.

  • sheebshag

    “Well, what you don’t see is the giraffe’s head gets decapitated by the overpass – WHICH WE SEE – and it goes flying up and landing in the windshield of the car behind them.”

    LOL. I’d actually pay to see that.

    • carsonreeves1

      you are a sick man sheebshag, a sick man.

  • seanfast

    nice “guest” post, way to hide behind anonymity. if you dont like any of carson’s posts why are you here? why are you commenting? and why do you return everyday?

    carson said this about the intervention:
    “The plot? Okay, um, sheesh. It went something like this. Alan (Zach G.)
    is acting weird so everyone stages an intervention so he’ll go get help
    at a treatment facility. Um – WHAT?? That’s not how interventions work.
    Interventions are for when you drink too much or do too many drugs. When
    you’re, like, addicted to something. So not five minutes in and already
    the plot doesn’t make sense.”

    wikipedia says this about an intervention:
    “An intervention is an orchestrated attempt by one or many people –
    usually family and friends – to get someone to seek professional help
    with an addiction or some kind of traumatic event or crisis, or other serious problem. The term intervention is most often used when the traumatic event involves addiction to drugs or other items. Intervention can also refer to the act of using a similar technique within a therapy session.”

    sounds to me like he pretty much nailed the definition. care to reform your grievance?

  • carsonreeves1

    There are definitely exceptions to every rule, but the giraffe and chicken killing scenes in H3 were not them.

    • mk

      The killings you describe in H3 certainly don’t sound funny. But if it’s properly set up, an animal killing can be funny. Consider A Fish Named Wanda. Because the killer is in fact an animal lover and he kills the dogs by accident (while meaning to target their owner), the situation is hysterical.
      The key to humor is irony. An animal lover who kills an animal can therefore be funny, but a vicious animal-hating thug who kills an animal would probably not ever be anything but loathsome.

      • fragglewriter

        Also. “Tropic Thunder”. When Ben Stiller’s character kills the Panda in the woods, when there was a poster of him in a panda hanging in his agent’s (or his, I forgot) office LOL

  • seanfast

    i didnt laugh at that scene but i can see why people did. its funny. the way the dog gets hit is unrealistic and animated, the obvious stuffed animal replacement flings high up like a cartoon and flies into the building. the dog doesnt get violently decapitated like the giraffe. heck, it could still be alive after that scene for the style of how it was shot! i think its apples and oranges, and youre applying a blanket rule to all animal violence in movies. its more of a case by case basis.

    • sheebshag

      I’m applying a blanket rule by saying: “I must object to this concept of “killing” animals NECESSARILY being a big no-no.” ???

      I also wrote: “It sounds to me like this giraffe scene is somewhat in the same vein (although maybe more graphic?).” which is a disclaimer, indicating that I haven’t actually seen the H3 scene. It might be out of line, but I doubt it. For instance, it sounds like the giraffe died because of an accident. There’s a big difference between that and someone purposely killing giraffe just for the hell of it.

      And of course we all know they didn’t ACTUALLY kill a giraffe. In which case it would’ve been a big no-no :P

  • lonestarr357

    I would truly hate to meet someone who went into this movie expecting it to be good, much less funny. The trailer started with Alan singing at a funeral in a high, almost female voice…a joke that wasn’t even funny when it was Rob Schneider in GROWN UPS. The end of the trailer was the giraffe scene, which pretty much cinched me never seeing this movie. I’m no tree hugging prude. The gag isn’t terrible because it’s one of God’s creatures and we should treat it with respect. The gag is terrible is because it’s not fucking funny.

    Maybe, this is one of those ‘victim of his own success’ kind of deals. Todd Phillips has made so much money with the first two movies that no one wanted to/felt like/could tell him no. Someone really should’ve, though, because what we have here is a comedy without laughs made for $100 million dollars.

    One hundred million dollars…for a fucking comedy! I think Nicholson said it best in Tim Burton’s BATMAN: “This town needs an enema!”

    • seanfast

      “The gag is terrible is because it’s not fucking funny”


  • fragglewriter

    The first Hangover wasn’t funny, except for Chan and Mike Tyson. I didn’t see Hangover 2 cause I didn’t even laugh at the commercial. The same can be said for Hangover 3.

    I’ve read, don’t know if it was your site or a book, but comedies should never have a sequel (but I do love “Ace Ventura 2″, “Scary Movie 2″). You couldn’t have a successful triology with a comedy unless the goal was not obtained in the original or have a new concept. Since Doug as found at the end of the first movie, there’s nothing more for the characters to do except do random stuff for 2 hours.

  • klmn

    Danes are notorious dog killers. Don’t know why. Americans like rock and roll, Danes like whacking dogs.

    Go figure.

    Addendum: now whacking cats I could get on board with.

  • Nickmistro

    Chaos man, did you even see the freaking movie??? The rhinoceros comes AFTER the cat scene. Duh.

  • ThomasGrant

    I’d say 3/4th of my theater clapped when the movie was over. And not sarcastically, either. They enjoyed it so much that they wanted to show their appreciation.
    Not surprising, considering the GROWN UPS 2 trailer brought the house down before the movie even started.
    There are few things more infuriating than watching comedies with other people.

  • Graham

    I’ll offer up two very definite exceptions to the ‘don’t kill animals, it’s not funny’ rule of writing.

    The first is a very well regarded comedy called ‘A Fish Called Wanda’, wherein a dedicated animal lover played by Michael Palin is part of an inept criminal gang who – in scenes which echo ‘The Ladykillers’ – are trying to ‘off’ a little old lady. Palin’s character keeps messing up his attempts on her life, succeeding only in ‘bumping off’ her cute little doggies, one by one.

    If you haven’t seen ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ then I recommend you watch the whole film – it’s a great comedy. The following clip is just an enjoyable wee reminder for those of you who have:

    I can recall the theatre rocking with laughter during these scenes when I saw the film at the cinema.

    Two things to note:

    1) the character irony here is exquisite. Animal lover keeps ‘accidentally’ killing animals.

    2) This script was written by John FUCKING Cleese and the character is played by Michael FUCKING Palin. Pythons, and all round comedy deities. That’s right, deities.

    Exception 2 I’d offer is a character called ‘Mr Chinnery’ from a cult British TV show called ‘The League of Gentlemen’.

    Mr Chinnery is a nice well intentioned vet, who unfortunately keeps killing his ‘clients':

    Again, note the irony here.

    So – it can be done. But you probably need a) a funny/ironic framing device in which it can be done (vet; animal lover) and a fairly highly developed sense of comic timing.

    In other words – think VERY, VERY carefully before trying this at home folks.

    I don’t think the giraffe scene as described in ‘Hangover 3′ – which seems to be getting a widespread panning as a whole – fits the bill.

    • Citizen M

      I recall Mr Cleese objecting to the death of a parrot rather humorously.

    • rl1800

      Another exception would be the death of Neidermeyer’s horse in Animal House. First, they set the horse up to be almost as big an a-hole as Neidermeyer himself. It would attack and terrify poor Kent Dorfman. So it was no longer an “innocent” animal. It was fair game. Then, the way they offed it — heart attack — was perfectly done. The gun shot. The freeze frame. Then the guys in the next room hearing the ominous thud when it hits the floor. And the follow up scenes with the maintenance man measuring the door and realizing he can’t fit the corpse through, so he breaks out the chainsaw. That’s how you do it.

      • Graham

        Well played :) Had forgotten about that one. There are probably a few more examples out there – but those that work will have had a little thought put into them I’m sure.

  • Citizen M

    Starsky & Hutch
    Start the Revolution Without Me
    Starzan: Shouting Star of the Jungle

  • Avishai

    Yep, I have zero interest in this movie. Shame, because the trailer looked kind of interesting. I didn’t get any hints on what the movie might be about, but… actually, what did I like about the trailer? I don’t even know. Maybe it was just the rhythm of it. Oh well.

  • Avishai

    All fascinating points. I learned about Blank Check and Stop Or My bla bla bla halfway through Save the Cat. I thought, no way this guy wrote those and expects us to take his advice… and yet, he had some very good, common sense advice.
    An article about this would be very interesting.

  • Fillumstine

    “It all ends.”

    Thank f@%k for that.

    Nasty film. Painfully unfunny.

    After seeing Part III, I caught the first “Hangover” – which I love and piss my pants laughing every time I see it – on TV last night.

    Pissed my pants again.

    Bigger is not always better, nor necessarily funnier.

    Recent Mel Brooks quote struck a chord:

    “Sometimes movie comedy gets lazy. They go for a lot of sexual or physical jokes. They lean on them. I mean, I’m a master of vulgarity – but not just plain old vulgarity. There’s just too much dirty words and dirty activities that are not woven into the plot correctly. It’s just dirty for dirty’s sake.”

  • bruckey

    At my viewing 2 women walked out after the giraffe scene. I was tempted

  • cjob3

    “Superhero Movie” was on TV recently. My god, what absolute drek. Might be the worst comedy I’ve seen so far. I couldn’t believe that it was such a lazy, shot-for-shot remake of Spider-Man, with someone occasionally farting or getting hit in the head. (Much like how Hangover 2 was just a lazy, retread of 1.) Some of it wasn’t even parody, just rip-off. Like the lab assistant being named Dr. Strom. That was his character name in Spider-Man!! It’s lame enough to just come up with Mad Magazine parody names for everyone, but to not even do that…

  • cjob3

    What is strange to me is someone who writes comedies for a living can come across so hostile and angry all the time. And apparently that unpleasant mean streak comes through in his scripts.

  • cjob3

    There’s something mean-spirited in the premise even. 3 guys road trip to take their friend to a mental treatment facility after he kills an animal?

    Wow, that sounds funny.

  • cjob3

    What you’re saying about Alan in Hangover is like Belushi in Animal House. He’s an ‘impact character’ – he packs a punch but use him too much and he loses the impact. In Animal House, John Landis said Belushi really wanted to be in the road trip section. Landis knew Bluto couldn’t be in that much of the movie, or he loses his impact.

    If they made Animal House 2 and 3 (as they would today) the 3rd on would be all about the adventures of Bluto and it would suck.

  • Ambrose*

    Carson, you took the words right out of my mouth. We basically had the same reaction to this feeble excuse for a movie and one film that certainly doesn’t qualify as a comedy.

    One thing I do disagree with you about is Hangover 2. I thought that was terrible. A pathetic attempt to carbon copy the first movie.

    But Hangover 3 stoops to a new low. It doesn’t even try to be funny. Mazin and Phillips obviously think that killing animals is hysterical – the giraffe bit is just plain lazy and pathetic. A sight gag with no real basis in reality, thrown in for it’s gross-out effect.

    Yeah, they’re really scrapping the bottom of the barrel here.

    Phillips said that the scene over the end credits was in response to the critics complaining that 2 was just like the first Hangover.

    So I guess he also decided to make 3 even worse than 2, just for spite.

    What does he care? He’s laughing all the way to the bank. He made tens of millions of dollars from each of the first two.

    And audiences have not completely bought into the crap he’s peddling here. The box office is less than expected, so word of mouth has apparently not been good.

    I’m tired of Zach Galifinakis and his schtick. He played the same type of character in Due Date. It got old a long time ago.

    To borrow from an old public service announcement: Friends don’t let friends waste their money on Hangover 3.

  • blue439

    Humor is determined by culture. What’s funny in Denmark might not be funny in the States and vice versa. This is why comedies usually don’t do as well overseas as they do in the domestic market.

    Unfortunately, in the States people like their pets more than other people, so it’s outrageous to see an animal killed but exciting when hundreds of people get slaughtered.

  • E.C. Henry

    Yeah, I saw the “Hangover III” on Memorial Day and left underwhelmed too, Carson. The only thing this story had going for it was Chow and Allan, who like you so nicely put are “low dose” characters. Everyone else just seamed to be lingering arround. Heather Gram made an appearance but didn’t do much. Came in ready to laugh. Only laughed a couple of times. Thi s movie felt like a rip-off, feeding of the successes of its past movies, just going through the motions without a worthwhile story worth telling underneath it. Hopefull this will be the end of the line for the “Hangover” franchise, it’s played out.

  • carsonreeves1

    I feel the same way about Jack. He doesn’t fit the main character role.

  • Dill

    They don’t really hang out together though (at least in the first one), they’re just all friends with Doug.

  • Steve

    I disagree. I liked the original draft of the Hangover better than what made it to the screen. The reoccurring bit about Stu (I think that’s the character’s name) not sure if he had gay sex the night before was hilarious. The payoff was great too. Philips weakened the story; he didn’t add to it. The original writers were the core talent behind The Hangover, as evidenced by how terrible it was without them. Mazin is and always be a hack. it’s not his fault; it’s what level he will always be at. You can’t put horns on a mouse and call him a bull. He’s always going to be a mouse. Mazin will always be a hack.

  • carsonreeves1

    lol. Well, I’m not a tennis professional either so you might be right.

    • seanfast

      haters gonna hate lol

  • seanfast

    great analysis grendl!

  • seanfast
  • ItStartedWithAWindmill

    Can there be a new rule? When the credits start, the movie is over. It’s an annoying trend that is being repeated too often.