Bad news, fans of rote comedy: The Hangover Part III is lazier than expected, a starry cash-grab bereft of anything resembling a genuine laugh or an original thought.

Before anyone tries to use Todd Phillips' latest to totally write off the concept of Hollywood sequels, though, keep in mind that last weekend's big debut, Star Trek Into Darkness, has enough going for it to earn a recommendation. In the movie industry, follow-ups are, for the most part, inevitable once a film becomes a box office success—it's an unavoidable evil that can, at times, produce memorable films. Cases in point: The Godfather Part II, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Aliens, The Dark Knight, and Spider-Man 2.

Then again, for every X2: X-Men United, there's a Taken 2. Often, everything that made the first movie so special gets deleted in favor of brainless self-indulgence or, even worse, demonstrations of ham-fisted filmmakers operating without any new ideas. Want to see how truly awful it can get? Have a look at the 50 worst sequels of all time, limited to direct follow-ups. The Hangover Part III is safe.

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Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)

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