The Hangover Part III (2013)

The Hangover 3

Release Date: May 23, 2013

Director: Todd Phillips

Stars: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis

Runtime: 100 min

Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms star in an original tale of bad decisions and mayhem. The movie I’m talking about is 2009’s The Hangover. The first sequel has a severe case of sequelitis (exact same thing as the first). We now arrive at The Hangover Part III, a movie that suffers from a far more common and simple occurrence: bad movie syndrome.

The movie opens at the prison where Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) is now escaping, under the cover of a prison riot. He crawls in the sewer, but comes out clean on the other side. It then changes tone to follow the wolfpack. After the death of Alan’s father, the wolfpack take Alan (Zach Galifianakis) to a mental hospital to get his problems sorted out. On the way there, they are assaulted and Doug is kidnapped (again). They must find Leslie Chow and bring him to Marshall, Doug’s kidnapper, in order to save Doug.

This isn’t able to cut ties to the original or the first sequel. The plot afoot, where Marshall (John Goodman) kidnaps Doug (Justin Bartha), in consequence to what Chow did in the first. They go to Las Vegas, again. There’s a trade-off in the desert, again. The filmmakers don’t keep some of the best components: Stu singing a song, Mike Tyson, good comedy, and worst of all, a hangover. These guys are never drunk during the movie! Frankly, these sober guys aren’t so fun to watch. Todd Phillips is so terrified of making the same movie three times; he changes the overall tone. Viewers who are expecting to cry from laughter will be sorely disappointed. It has some funny scenes, because you might laugh at Alan being his idiotic self; but most of the content is so dark, it can’t be considered funny.

Doug (Justin Bartha) has always been a secondary presence, since this Princess Peach-esque character is kidnapped so much. Black Doug (Mike Epps), honorary wolfpack member, has always been the better Doug. He is a star of one of the only hilarious scenes in the entire movie. The other humour suddenly becomes tired because we’ve seen it in the trailers already. One joke that becomes exhausting is when Alan pretends to give someone a high five, but it’s a sike-out and he grooms his hair instead. It’s a little funny the first time; and since it’s not so funny the second time, it sure as hell won’t be funny the third freaking time. Stu (Ed Helms) is relied on to make gagging noises at disgusting parts. The only characters that have should-be funny dialogue are Alan (of course), Chow and Black Doug.

The problem is, both Alan and Chow become more and more irritating as the movie progresses. Alan is more moronic than ever, and Chow is more sociopathic than ever. The hilarious content is limited. The fact that thinking of a truly funny scene in a comedy movie, especially one of The Hangover franchise, is a huge issue. This one is memorable for all the wrong reasons. The first produces a laugh-a-minute, almost, but here you’ll be lucky to laugh every ten. This is truly the most bizarre out of the three; and the plotting is ludicrous, even if if there is an evident plot.

The humour is mean-spirited and, often enough, downright despicable. These sociopathic and passive-aggressive characters only seem to care about retrieving Doug. Alan, an overweight toddler with an awesome beard, has a bit of a heart because he begins to realize his actions have a very negative outcome, and he tries to fix it. Phil is still the calm and collected one, but he’s generally unfunny, here. This will be remembered as that one movie that broke Bradley Cooper’s hot streak.

Do you want to know some really despicable and enfuriating humour at play here? (I’ll tell you anyway.) In the trailer, Alan’s car goes under a low bridge, but the giraffe doesn’t. Todd Phillips shows the giraffe’s severed head crashing into a windshield. At a later moment, Phil says, “I think it’s kinda funny. It’s a giraffe, who the f*ck cares?” Of course this is all for shock, but Phillips is definitely receiving angry calls from PETA this weekend.

This has a few forgettable laughs, but its dark tone makes this memorable for the wrong reason. This really should be excellent, because the trailers make this look promising. Optimistic fans of the franchise will not find a bigger disappointment this summer season. If you are disappointed, don’t make the same mistake I did by walking out of the theatre right when the end credits start to roll. Apparently, there’s a hilarious scene part-way through the credits. This movie is like a cruel, sad little man with a cold, sociopathic heart. The filmmakers give making a good movie the old college try; but giving something ‘the old college try’ shouldn’t mean it will feel like it’s written by mentally disturbed college students.

25/100

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Sparkle (2012)

SparkleSparkle

Release Date: August 17, 2012

Director: Salim Akil

Stars: Jordin Sparks, Carmen Ejogo, Whitney Houston

Runtime: 116 min

Tagline: Celebrate the legend

Sister and Her Sisters? More like the Hussy and Her Sisters.

Sparkle is a performing arts drama set in the 1960s. It follows three sisters: Sparkle (Jordin Sparks), Sister (Carmen Ejogo) and Dolores (Tika Sumpter) who mend a girl group and they soon become local sensations with major label interest, but fame brings turmoil and further struggle to the tight-knit family.

Sparkle is a fully mediocre story that simply borrows its delightful concepts from other, better films. It may be filled with clichés and owns a very predictable premise, but it is thoroughly entertaining, and I never found myself bored. However, I did find myself fairly irritated at some points in the film.

While Sparkle is the titular character, for a good majority of the flick, she does not feel like the focal point. She is mainly a reserved character who wants her music to be heard, but she is much too timid to sing them herself. The band’s manager, Stix (Derek Luke), is one character who wants her to break out of that shell. And because of all of this, Sparkle is merely placed as a background singer – and subsequently, a usual background character (with the exception of the last twenty-five minutes, or so) since she is often drowned out by waves of sub-plots.

There is a sub-plot also worked into Sparkle’s character; she does not believe in herself, but partly due to the fact that her mother (Whitney Houston, in a great last performance) does not believe in her either. The mother almost had a music career when she was younger, but it ultimately failed. She does not want to see her daughters go down that same road, but she doesn’t know of their constant sneaking out for the majority of the film. There’s a petite sub-plot of Dolores (a.k.a. Dee) only joining the music group to make enough money to go to Medical School.

However, the largest sub-plot (and really, the main plot point) is Sister’s wrestle with fame. She is also one of the main reasons of the family’s struggle. She is a character that is so enveloped by the fame of it all, that she cannot see a good man who cares for her right in front of her eyes, and one who will care for her, Levi (Omari Hardwick). Instead, she chooses the incredibly lame and annoying comedian, Satin (Mike Epps). He leads her down a road of drugs and physical and mental abuse (like no one’s heard that story before). Basically, the characters of Sister and Satin affected my enjoyment of the film. I may have never been bored, but those two characters made me feel a certain loathing. Also, they made me feel skeptical to opening up to any other characters.

Sparkle is a mediocre and average performing arts drama. It is entertaining, but it isn’t anything memorable or special. It has a great debut performance from Jordin Sparks and a great last performance by Whitney Houston. The characters of the mother, Sparkle, Stix and Dee are great; but the characters of Sister and Satin are not easy to appreciate. It’s a predictable ride, but it is nonetheless a fairly good, but forgettable, one.

63/100