Todd Phillips' Hangover trilogy checks out next month with the concluding part likely to add a motza to the billion-plus dollars banked so far. Commercial success came much more easily than critical plaudits for The Hangover Part II though, a fact that clearly still rankles with the director.
"Yes, we do a wake-up and a blackout", Phillips protests of those accusations that he and co-writers Craig Mazin and Scot Armstrong merely repeated the formula, "but every joke in Hangover II is completely different. My feeling is that it's the better movie of the two."
With the third movie promising to slam on the brakes and head in a different direction - Alan (Zach Galifianakis) drops off his meds when his father dies and falls in with Mr Chow's (Ken Jeong) crazed, Point Blank-style revenge mission - the director feels that the second instalment is ripe for re-evaluation. "I think it's human nature that any time people want to try something for a second time, people go to a negative. I think in five or ten years time, people will come to realise how brilliant Hangover II is."
Returning to join Alan for Part III are Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha), not to mention a few familiar faces from The Hangover. "An unequivocal end" is how Phillips describes it. In keeping with a few other franchise sequels, it will be a darker ride than its predecessors. "People die in this movie," Phillips reveals. "Nobody's died in them before."
The Hangover Part III is in UK cinema on May 24. Catch the trailer here or pick up the June issue of Empire on Thursday April 25 for much more on the movie...