In a 1997 episode of The Simpsons, rotund patriarch Homer stood before the residents of Springfield with a glass of cold beer and encouraged his neighbours to join him in a toast.
“To alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems,” he professed.
Director Todd Phillips has been drinking from the same barrel since 2009 when The Hangover became an unexpected smash hit.
The sequel was a lacklustre affair and now the unholy quartet of Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha and Ed Helms go cold turkey in the final chapter.
Part III opens with Alan (Galifianakis) suffering a mental breakdown in the aftermath of his father’s death, which prompts best friends Phil (Cooper), Stu (Helms) and Doug (Bartha) to stage an intervention.
They intend to accompany Alan to the New Horizons medical facility, where he can seek professional help to overcome his grief.
En route, they are forced off the road by a thug called Marshall (John Goodman), who holds Doug hostage in exchange for flamboyant criminal Mr Chow (Ken Jeong) and stolen gold bullion worth $21 million. With the clock ticking and screenwriter Mazin’s imagination running on empty, Alan, Phil and Stu head to Tijuana and then back to Vegas to capture Chow and save Doug from a shallow grave in the desert.
The Hangover Part III tastes as flat as a glass of leftover champagne. The party ended for these characters a long time ago.