Wedding Crashers (2005)

My friend Amanda Evans is quite possibly the biggest Vince Vaughn fan in the United States, nay, the planet Earth. She used to watch Dodgeball every day. Her brother-in-law even went so far as to stage an intervention for her Vaughn addiction. She has been talking about Wedding Crashers for months and months and counting down the days like a kid waiting for Christmas. It’s safe to say that Amanda loved the movie but how would your otherwise non-obsessed moviegoer feel?

Jeremy (Vaughn) and John (Owen Wilson) are divorce attorneys by day and ladies men come nightfall. Both men crash weddings they were not invited to with the strict purpose of getting laid by horny bridesmaids. They have got their honey hunting down to a science, from what relative they’re related to, to when to cry, to whom to slow dance with to convince those bridesmaids that they’re sweet gentlemen. Jeremy says that one day when they?re old men they’ll both look back on these days and smile. John retorts, “We’re not that young.”

The Super Bowl of all weddings is the daughter of the Secretary of the Treasury (Christopher Walken). John has his eye on his other daughter Claire (Rachel McAdams) while Jeremy sets his sights on the Secretary’s other daughter, the wild and vivacious Gloria (Isla Fisher). The only problem for John is that he’s actually falling in love with Claire, oh and she’s engaged to a real jackass (Alias‘ Bradley Cooper). Jeremy and John are such big hits at the wedding that the Secretary invites them both to vacation with his family at their summer home. Jeremy is hesitant and wants to stick to the love-em-and-leave-em lifestyle he and his buddy are so accustomed to, but John drags him along convinced he can win Claire over.

Vaughn kills in every single scene. He hits punchline after punchline like some king of comedic prizefighter. His mile-a-minute delivery gels ever so nicely with Wilson’s homesy charm and drawl. These two have never been matched before as leading men but now their marriage seems like a match made in heaven. Their chemistry is off the chart. Wilson is essentially the straight man to Vaughn. In most comedies, “straight man” is just another term for boring. However, Wilson gets his shots in as well especially with his give and take with Vaughn, who is in a comedic zone all his own.

Not to be out done by the men, both McAdams and Fisher give great performances. McAdams (Mean Girls) is a rising star and it’s easy to see why. She’s a beautiful woman but also has some good teeth for comedy. In comedy terms, she’s the romantic interest, which means she’s an even straighter (read: boring) man than Wilson’s straight man. And handed with all this, McAdams still shines as a leading lady you can fall in love with. The true scene-stealer of Wedding Crashers is Fisher (Scooby-Doo), who goes hilariously tit-for-tat with Vaughn. You might walk away believing she’s truly out of her mind. Fisher has a physical gift for comedy that hasn’t been showcased before, but with Wedding Crashers she gets unleashed and we?re the better for it.

After the brilliant work of McAdams and Fisher, most of the supporting cast’s performances comes off as being too forced. Cooper is a wide-eyed grinning jackass that?s obvious from the get-go. He plays the role so big that his eyebrows seem permanently pressed to the top of his head. There’s also the weird introverted son who Typical Crazy Grandma berates as being “a homo.” But not only is he gay hes also a freak. The role seems quizzically garish and even a bit homophobic. Jane Seymore jumps at her role as mom in heat, but the film forgets about her fast after an awkward encounter with Wilson. Walken can make me laugh just by watching him stare (and he did), but even he isn’t given much more to work with besides the supportive dad role. It seems odd for a comedy with such huge belly laughs to have several supporting players grind the film’s funny down. All of this is excusable though because the far majority of the film’s attention and laughs are derived from our central quartet.

Wedding Crashers is a raunchy delight. You know you’re in good hands when, in one scene, Wilson and Vaughn are dipping bridesmaids on the dance floor and it cuts to these same bridesmaids now falling topless onto hotel beds. This is one R-rated comedy that proudly wears its rating on its sleeve. And for a sex comedy, there’s a surprising amount of laughs mined just out of an adult discussion on sex, which cannot be curtailed or couched with euphemisms and soft language. I don’t know whether to credit the screenwriters or the off-the-cuff improving of Wilson and Vaughn, but Wedding Crashers proves there’s still more under the sun to talk about and giggle.

Usually with movies revolving around hedonistic characters, they meet one of two ends: 1) they find that One True Girl that makes them want to go straight, or 2) they meet their hedonistic match and rethink their ways now that the shoe is on the other foot. Wedding Crashers doesn’t give you one of these options, oh no, it gives you both. Sure things gets awfully predictable after a great rush out of the gate, but the interplay between Wilson and Vaughn and some genuinely funny gags should keep most laughing until the surprise cameo at the end by the founder/guru of the wedding crashing rule book (it should be no surprise if you’ve seen any movie with Wilson and Vaughn the last three years). The climax is a bit drawn out and Wedding Crashers is still another comedy built around deception whose climax involves apologizing for said deception. It’d be tiresome if the movie weren’t so damn funny.

Despite the sleazy premise, Wedding Crashers has a sweet and gooey center. These are two men who know exactly what women want and they’re eager to give it to them. They just don’t know what they really want, but when they find it both Jeremy and John set their minds to romantic conquests outside of the bedroom. It’s this gooey center that makes the characters likeable despite any misgivings an audience may hold over their wedding crashing plot.

Two hours is a near eternity for most comedies and Wedding Crashers seems to lose its sprint in the last 20-30 minutes. The film starts getting repetitious and overly predictable with few laughs to cover up. Wilson and Vaughn still make it work but the setup seems to have been taken as far as it will go and then some.

Wedding Crashers is a loud, jovial, ribs-in-the-elbows funny return to the crass classics of the 1970s R-rated comedy. Vaughn and Wilson are perfectly matched and McAdams and Fisher shine like stars. Wedding Crashers is a bawdy good time that will leave you aching from laughing so hard. This movie is profane, simple, crude, and joyously so. It does run out of gas toward its protracted climax and some of the supporting performances feel forced, but Wedding Crashers is easily the funniest film of the year. Amanda was foiled in seeing the film three times the weekend it opened. She had to settle for only seeing it twice. I don’t think she has slept since (UPDATE: Amanda has since seen the movie five more times).

Nate’s Grade: B+

About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at PictureShowPundits.com (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on July 15, 2005, in 2005 Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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