They are back! They are baaaaack! They are ... the three best friends that anybody could have, the three best friends that anybody could have, and they'll never ever, ever ever leave each other.

Yep, Stu, Phil and Alan are back on the big screen this week in The Hangover 3. More importantly, they're back where it all started -- Vegas. Part of the reason The Hangover 2 disappointed a tad (aside from the completely recycled plot, of course) was because it was missing its fourth co-star: Vegas.

Sure, Bangkok is fun and all, but it wasn't part of the original Hangover magic. That's why Part 2 felt like it was missing something important, even though all of the key players -- even Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) and Mike Tyson -- were there.

This time around, the guys are chasing Chow in order to save their pal Doug (Justin Bartha), who has been very randomly kidnapped by a rich bad guy played by John Goodman and his head henchman, the other Doug (Mike Epps) from the first Hangover. Naturally, Chow heads to Vegas the first chance he gets. Because really, why wouldn't he? Vegas is the best. The Wolf Pack follows him there, and crazy antics ensue, including a pretty cool scene with the Caesar's Palace sign.

The plot is pretty thin, so don't over-think it too much. Just sit back, enjoy the ride, and keep your eyes peeled for recurring characters from the original. (Other Doug isn't the only one who resurfaces! Sadly, Bryan Callen's crazy wedding chapel character doesn't appear, though.)

So, is The Hangover 3 a great movie? Well, not really. But it's entertaining, and certainly worth seeing if you liked the first one. Here are my top 7 reasons why.

1. Vegas! The glittering city is on full display -- especially when Chow winds up gliding over the Bellagio Fountains and the Eiffel Tower.

2. Melissa McCarthy. Can you think of a better love interest for Alan? Neither can I. The perfectly goofy McCarthy is great as a surly pawnshop worker who steals Alan's heart by yelling at her sweet, invalid mother.

3. Chow.And plenty of him. Clearly, Phillips realized that Chow was one of the original's biggest strengths. He's all over Part 3, doing everything from busting out of a Bangkok jail to belting out Hurt by Nine Inch Nails at a Tijuana karaoke night.

4. A deeper look at Alan's "stay at home son" lifestyle. We see him demanding Oreo smoothies from his mother and knocking over glasses full of Tab just to make his poor maid clean it up.

5. John Goodman. Sure, this isn't his best role, but he's John Goodman. Even if he's phoning it in, he's awesome. Plus he makes dainty little decorative scarves look pretty badass.

6. Baby Tyler/Carlos is back, and he's an adorable four-year-old now. And yes, that means mama Heather Graham is back, too -- this time as a suburban mom, not an enterprising stripper/escort. 7. What happens to Stu after the credits. I won't give it away. But if you wondered how they could top losing a tooth or getting a face tattoo, rest assured -- they've found a way.

The Hangover Part 3 opens in theatres on May 23.

categories Movies