John Goodman was brought in to be the villain but unfortunately, the villain could be the movie itself and while the movie is finding a second life on HBO Max, currently sitting at number four, it’s a sequel that many have found to be tone-deaf in many regards.
The Hangover Part III, by name alone, should elicit smiles. The first two films were a mixture of gross-out humor and fun, starring Bradley Cooper (Phil), Ed Helms (Stu), Zach Galifianakis (Alan), and Justin Bartha (Doug) as The Wolfpack, buddies who first come together for Doug’s Vegas bachelor party that goes sideways, then in Thailand, where the boys reunite for Stu’s nuptials.
The first two films didn’t have the talents of John Goodman. They worked because of their similar premise. The third film, though, takes a major departure from what worked, turning a fun, vulgar movie experience into a darker, more violent film. This film first finds the infamous Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) escaping from prison two years after the events in Thailand. At the same time, Alan is off his ADHD medication and out of control. He causes a multi-car pile-up on the freeway after his purchase of a giraffe goes terribly wrong.
When his father passes away from a heart attack, Alan is hit with an intervention by his Wolfpack friends. They convince him to seek help at a rehab facility, which he agrees to only if they will accompany him. The new “adventure” is on. As they make their way to the rehab facility in Arizona, Phil’s minivan is forced off the road and the boys are kidnapped. When they arrive at their destination, they are immediately confronted by mob boss Marshall (John Goodman). Black Doug (Mike Epps) is on board as Marshall’s head enforcer.
Marshall informs the boys that shortly after their Vegas venture, Chow stole gold worth $21 million from him. He knows that Alan has been in contact with Chow, so it is up to them to find Chow and get the gold back or Doug (Bartha) will be killed. Alan easily tracks down Chow and he sets up a meeting. But that immediately goes south as Chow, because of Alan, figures out that Phil and Stu are involved, and he forces the three into revealing that they are working for Marshall to save Doug.
Chow then decides to bring them in on his plan. To retrieve the gold from the basement of a Mexican villa he previously owned. He gets the boys to help them, which they end up being successful. But Chow double-crosses them and locks them in the villa’s basement.
The boys get arrested but are mysteriously released. A limousine picks them up in front of the police station then takes them right back to the villa where John Goodman’s character is waiting. Goodman then informs the incompetent three that the villa belongs to him and the gold that Chow had them steal was actually the half that Chow didn’t get the first time. Chow now has the entire $42 million worth of gold.
The boys, now with only two days remaining to get the gold back to Marshall, find themselves off to where it all began for them. Vegas.
Apparently, director Todd Phillips (no stranger to “dark” films, see Joker), who directed all three films as well as co-wrote the second and third, had decided that if there was going to be a third film, it wouldn’t follow the same template as the first two. “If we were to do a third one, if the audience, if the desire was there, I think we have a very clear idea where that would head,” Phillips said at the time via Momentous Studio. “It’s certainly not in the same template that you’ve seen these movies. The third would be very much a finale and an ending. The most I could say about it, what’s in my head, and I haven’t discussed it with these actors, is that it is not following that template but very much a new idea. As far as where it takes place, I said I’m very open.”
The film veered so far from the first two that it prompted critic Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times to note, “Director Todd Phillips delivers a film so different from the first two, I’m not even sure it’s supposed to be a comedy.”
John Goodman has enjoyed a very long and successful career. He began with bit roles in films like Revenge of the Nerds, The Big Easy, and Raising Arizona before hitting it big as Dan Conner on the long-running sitcom, Roseanne. The sitcom was held in high regard for its initial nine seasons before it ended and then 21 years later, he returned with the revival of the series, which brought back most of the original cast.
The series was immediately a hit. Then, series star Roseanne Barr made a few controversial Twitter remarks that got the show canceled. ABC, still happy with how the show was received, decided to continue on with it, renaming it The Conners, but without Barr. John Goodman now leads the series, which was recently renewed for a fourth season.
John Goodman is known for more than just Roseanne or The Conners. The prolific actor has roots tied to Disney as he is the voice of James P. Sullivan (Sully) in the Monsters, Inc. franchise. On top of Monsters, Inc. Goodman also has lent his voice to Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove, Kronk’s New Groove, and the TV series The Emperor’s New School. Goodman also has voiced Baloo the Bear for The Jungle Book 2 and Big Daddy La Bouff in The Princess and the Frog.
John Goodman continues his voice work while also appearing in The Conners. He can be heard on The Freak Brothers while also returning to Disney as Sully for the new Disney+ series Monsters at Work. The busy actor is also currently working on the HBO series, The Righteous Gemstones. John Goodman can be seen in The Hangover Part III, now showing on HBO Max.