When The Hangover came out, it was embraced by the general public as a funny, wildly entertaining piece of cinema that was incredibly easy to indulge in. Then they made a sequel, which wasn’t quite so enjoyable: the jokes were tiring, the concept even more so. Then they made a third. Now the joke is over: the concept is overcooked and it is time we all said goodbye to it once and for all. But filmmakers – in this particular instance, Jon Turteltaub – have been inspired to revisit Vegas, and this attempt to form a geriatric Hangover of sorts, signals a distinct lack of fresh ideas. Ah well, at least no respectful, esteemed actors signed on to do it… Oh right, they did!
Michael Douglas plays Billy, who has some exciting news to break to his three oldest friends – he’s engaged, and to a rather pretty, much younger woman. He decides it’s a good idea to have a bachelor party in Vegas, and both Sam (Kevin Kline) and Archie (Morgan Freeman) are up for the ride, desperately keen on leaving their families behind for a weekend of debauchery. However the one man who isn’t quite so keen on the idea is Paddy (Robert De Niro), as the widower has no intentions of spending any time with Billy, following a distasteful fall-out. Though when he’s finally convinced, the group head off in the vein hope that their petty disagreements are long behind them. It soon transpires not to be the case however, particularly following the introduction of cabaret singer Diana (Mary Steenburgen).
The problem with this comedy is that it just isn’t funny. The jokes are elementary, cheap and predictable, and it is a great shame to see such wonderful actors fall from grace and be involved in something so hackneyed and unbearably crass. Some of the sequences are disturbingly salacious and it’s uncomfortable to watch at times (yes, the four men decide to judge a bikini contest). When the film isn’t being lewd, it’s unbearably mawkish and overtly sentimental, with no subtlety involved at all. Meanwhile, Freeman is certainly endearing as always, and you can’t fault Kline’s performance either, but Douglas and De Niro both seem to be spending the majority of this picture wishing they were anywhere else.
Nostalgia plays a key theme in this title, as the four men look back over a lost youth, an array of memories of times been and gone. It’s ironic really, because such a notion is triggered amongst the audience too, as we also look back – reminiscing about all of the incredible movies these wonderful actors have been involved in, which unfortunately, also seem like something of a distant memory.