If the first film was an all-night party you never want to forget, the second a disappointing dinner in your favourite restaurant – then this is a humourless pub-chain meal with the in-laws.
Sadly the ‘Wolfpack’ go out with a whimper instead of a howl – as this fails to even reach the heights of the sub-par sequel.
It’s definitely not an awful movie, but the ingenuity of the original film has long since faded – with only Zach Galifianakis’ Alan saving it from being a real damp squib.
He joins returning members of the pack, Bradley Cooper (who’s still good value as Phil) and Ed Helms (whose Stu doesn’t really have a purpose this time round), but they get less screen time than Ken Jeong’s Mr Chow – who’s been advanced from a bit-part in the first films to a headlining role. And too much Mr Chow isn’t necessarily a good thing.
At least the producers changed the drug-induced stag-do memory-loss scenario from the first two, by having John Goodman’s going-through-the-motions bad guy Marshall kidnap Doug (Justin Bartha) – forcing the pack to locate a heist of gold bars stolen from him by Mr Chow.
This leads to the threesome ending up in Las Vegas (again) via Tijuana in Mexico, as they fight against the clock to retrieve the loot before Marshall kills their unfortunate pal – who once again misses out on all the high-jinks.
And sadly he hasn’t missed much as they are few and far between in comedic terms.
Alan again is the star of the show, but Mr Chow is over-used to an annoying level, and even a cameo from the Bridesmaids’ Melissa McCarthy fails to really hit the spot – along with pointless returning roles from Mike Epps’ Black Doug and Heather Graham’s ex-hooker Jade.
Director Todd Phillips and the producers seem to have run out of ideas on how to take the trio to the next level and all we are left with is an ultimately darker, less well-rounded – albeit still watchable – experience, that would be more suited to a DVD rental when you’re getting over your own hangover.
Or if you’re really harsh you could simply call it a clueless cash-in trying to squeeze the last drops of money from a franchise that should’ve been put out to pasture after the lacklustre second movie. But that’s cash-hungry execs for you.
Sadly, the Wolfpack that had us howling with laughter in 2009 – bar a couple of laugh-out-loud moments – disappointingly end the trilogy without any real bite.
Thanks for the memories from the original – but this is one hangover you should sleep off.
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Ken Jeong, Justin Bartha, John Goodman, Melissa McCarthy, Heather Graham, Mike Epps, Jeffrey Tambor
Running Time: 1hr 35mins
Director: Todd Phillips [youtube id=”96TelFMZwHc” width=”600″ height=”350″]