By Edward Davis | The Playlist July 13, 2012 at 11:20AM
After the post-"Old School" stumbles ("School For Scoundrels" being the most egregious), it was nice to see Todd Phillips land back on his feet in a big way with "The Hangover" and to a lesser degree, the caustic but still enjoyable "Due Date." "The Hangover" of course was more than just a comeback success, the film went supernova and became the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time and turned Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper into big stars that now lead their own movies and TV shows. Phillips himself signed a mint-like deal with Warner Bros. and everyone made out pretty damn well from the Vegas misadventure that took everyone by surprise.
But the goodwill earned by the film was almost immediately tarnished by the release of "The Hangover Part II," a lazy retread of the original film which seemingly xeroxed the same narrative, beat for beat, in an uninspired fashion, only changing the location to Thailand. Sub-parness aside, one of perhaps the predictable elements of the film was turning funny supporting character Mr. Chou, played by Ken Jeong, into a bigger player in the film as sequels are wont to do. Now it looks like Jeong's role may be getting even bigger.
THR reports that while the script details are under wraps -- though it's largely expected to center around rescuing Alan from a mental hospital -- evidently Jeong's character will be even more elemental to the third film. Congratulations? We've warned about turning middle eight (a bridge in music) into full blown songs and about why the middle eight is so special (cause you only hear it once), but Hollywood always knows how to ruin a good thing.
Whatever. What does seem certain is that the formula of "The Hangover," strictly adhered to in both films, is now absolutely played. And hopefully the filmmakers now realize they simply cannot just lose another buddy in another chaotic city, shake and stir, and believe that will satisfy anyone other than Big Gulp audience drones. And yes, that's the fat of the box-office, but we're pretty sure even Phillips thinks they played it too close to the template, as he's suggested part three will flip the script. We can only hope.
But maybe that's just us. Were you satisfied with "The Hangover Part II"? "The Hangover Part III" hasn't shot a foot of film yet, but it's due in theaters on May 23, 2013 with lensing to take place in Tijuana, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.