"It's funny, because I've read on the Internet how people say it's about breaking Alan out of a mental institution, which I can honestly tell you it is not about,” says director Todd Phillips as he chews on a toothpick in front of a Tijuana street backdrop. “I don't know how that got started. I actually do know how it got started. Zach said that as a joke…And then people knew it was a joke, but then sometimes it gets re-translated and then it becomes the truth. It's not about that.”
So what is it about?
“It's not a hangover, it's not a missing night,” he continues. “There's no drinking in the movie, or excessive drinking, I should say. It just takes a totally different turn.”
As mentioned earlier, the turn in question has something to do with Alan, and facing up to his past tragedies, or something. And also, the movie is dark. Very, very dark.
“All my movies, as I get the ability to do it, they tend to go a little darker, a little darker,” says Phillips. “And this movie-- Funnily enough, there's a line in this scene that we shot yesterday, which I turned to Dan Goldberg, my producing partner, and I said, ‘That's the tagline for the movie.’ Which is when Chow turns and he goes, [imitating Chow] ‘And then, everything went black.’ ‘Everything Went Black’ is also the title of a Black Flag album, but it's also a great tagline for this movie in a weird way. Because ‘everything went black’ makes you think, ‘Oh, is it another blackout?’ No, no, no. It just got very dark.”
Darker even than the second installment, it would seem, which itself strayed into some remarkably gloomy corners for a mainstream comedy. Helping to push this one over the top is “big, great American actor” (Galifianakis’s words) John Goodman, cast as an intimidating somebody-or-other who has, by Mazin’s contention, been a part of the franchise all along – we just didn't know it.
“I can tell you that John Goodman's a dangerous man, and that John Goodman, in a way, has always been in the movies,” Mazin tells us. “When you see the movie, you'll see what I mean.”
So, Todd Phillips, is this really, truly the last "Hangover" movie? For once, we get a definitive answer (or at least as definitive as things get in Hollywood short of someone actually dying).
"It does feel like the story that we're telling ends here," the director contends. "Because it feels like the one thing that was unanswered in those movies was, how is this guy going to turn out? Meaning Alan. How is he going to be okay? It doesn't make sense. So I feel like, through this, once that's complete there isn't really much else to do with it. We wouldn't do it. Yeah, we would never do another one."
"'The Hangover Part III': This Is the Last One, Really (We Mean It)." Has a nice ring to it, don't you think?
“The Hangover Part III” hits theaters on May 24.


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A former contributor to sites including MTV's The Backlot and Bloody-Disgusting, Chris Eggertsen worked in film development before indulging his love of pop culture writing full time. He specializes in horror, the intersection of social issues and entertainment and Howard Stern. He's on Twitter @HitFixChris.