Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Wedding Ringer

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I've fairly certain this film exists in the same universe as The Wedding Crashers.  Incidentally, Wilson and Vaughn were originally envisioned for the film's cast.

The Wedding Ringer – 3 out of 5

I honestly had no real desire to see The Wedding Ringer when it was coming to theaters because it looked like a slapped together comedy that would probably, more or less, be a disappointment for me and be filled with predictable humor and a lot of gags about Josh Gad’s weight. However, when the film hit the Home Media realm, my girlfriend decided we were going to watch it because she’s a big fan of Kevin Hart. I can’t say I’m really a fan of the guy because other than knowing that he’s a comedian and an actor, I’m not the most familiar with his work. However, I do really enjoy when he’s on Modern Family and he hosted the hell out of the Justin Bieber roast so he seemed like a safe bet for the film…I was actually surprised when this film turned out better than what I thought I was going to get.

Wait a second, I thought they only let Jeffrey Ross out of his cage to be a part
of Comedy Central roasts.
Doug Harris (Josh Gad) is a successful tax attorney who has the hand of a girl out of his league; Gretchen (The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), and is about to get married to her but, there’s one problem, Doug doesn’t have any friends to be his best man or even fill out his roster of groomsmen. Doug learns about a man named Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart) who runs a service for guys like him. The company is called Best Man, Inc. and their job is to provide services for the men in the world who lack the true friends to be their best men. However, it seems Doug’s situation might be too much for Callahan as he is to provide a Golden Tux—a service that is so large and seemingly impossible that he jokes it can’t be done. Now Jimmy must pretend to be a life-long friend of Doug, get enough people together to fill out the wedding party and throw a spectacular bachelor party for the guy…all without letting the secret slip out.

If Kevin Hart was a priest, I might actually go to church.

Like I previously stated, my expectations weren’t very high for this film and I was quite surprised by how funny it was. Kevin Hart and Josh Gad have some real chemistry together on screen and really pull off some great buddy comedy scenes. Additionally, the story had a promising premise that takes the tired old concept of wedding-based shenanigans and adds a new coat of paint to it. However, the film does have a few issues that keeps this from being better than it could have been and make it a comedy that becomes one of those constantly quoted pieces.

I'm assuming he's looking at yet another email from an angry parent who's had
Frozen playing on an endless loop since it has come out.  It wasn't your fault, Olaf.

Joe Namath has a cameo in the film.  I'm assuming it was
because of vapor lock.  (It's a Simpsons reference, kids.
Ask your parents.)
One issue I had was the superfluous nature of a lot of scenes. Some gags and sequences feel completely out of place with the rest of the tone of the film and enters into a needlessly wild slapstick world. Much of the best humor, I found, in the film was the camaraderie between Gad and Hart and character-based humor when Callahan’s team of groomsmen are forced to play insanely specific parts on such a short time-table. During a few sequences of the film, this working formula is abandoned for wild hijinks that feel like they belong in a completely different film. This is extremely notable in the bachelor party scene that sees the sequence end with Harris getting his dick bitten by a dog and a car chase with a cop. It didn’t feel like it belonged with the rest of the film and was just distracting.

Hey, that's the same look I had when the dick biting scene happened.

I don't often say this but...Josh Peck's short role is quite
Another minor issue I had was the film’s reliance on swears as a punchline. First off, when I sat down to watch it I never realized the film was rated R, so when the first Fuck-bomb was dropped, I was a little surprised (For some reason, I honestly thought this was a PG-13 film). I have no problem with curse words (you may have noticed that I swear quite a bit in the reviews) but using swears as a punchline always seemed lazy to me. This dynamic doesn’t happen very often but there is one sequence that stuck in my head where Cuoco-Sweeting’s character swears needlessly because Gad’s character mentioned the possibility of rain on their wedding day (which would totes be ironic, right Alanis?). I get the comedic outrage and a potential Bridezilla situation if you mention it raining on the special day but she keeps forcing "fucks" and "shits" into the irritation and it never feels natural…and then the scene ends. It honestly felt like the whole point of this scene—beyond just giving some more screen time to Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting—was just to make sure their R-rating is firmly in place. This is rarely seen elsewhere in the film and it might be because performers like Hart can make a swear work in concert with the jokes but, occasionally, these swears come off as gratuitous and almost like placeholders that were never removed because the real jokes couldn’t be located (Additionally, I just felt like Cuoco-Sweeting might not have been the best choice for the film because she didn’t really bring much). 

Despite being the bride, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting's part felt like background dressing.

This same formula is seen with the fat jokes aimed at Gad. Most of the time, they’re never funny (like when his weight causes his glass desk to shatter and fatty falls down…geez,we’ve never seen that before) and it looks like something you’d see in a Kevin James film. These gags, much like the swear-based punchlines, feel like throwaway jokes that are inserted to make sure the film never dips in the momentum of throwing jokes at you. Ultimately, though, this is an extremely minor complaint and only made for a scene or two that just didn’t work with the film.  They can't all be winners, folks!

Ha ha!  Look!  He's so fat he broke his desk and fell on his bottom!
Somewhere, Kevin James is taking notes for the inevitable conclusion to
the Paul Blart trilogy.

Another issue I had was some of the side characters aren’t given enough time to shine. The guys that Callahan recruits to be Harris’ groomsmen are all very over-the-top and very silly…BUT all have the potential to be very fun and hilarious characters. There are times when each of these guys has their moments to make with the funny and each one of those times is, more or less, successful but too often these guys are pushed into the background. I understand the film is, at its heart, a budding bromance between the characters of Callahan and Harris but a few more solid moments from the rest of the groomsmen couldn’t have hurt and could have made up for the dozen or so fat jokes that came off as hacky and repetitive.

"Hey, where the white women at?"

These issues aside, I had a lot of fun watching The Wedding Ringer. The film isn’t boldly trying to venture into a new realm of comedy and create something timeless—and there’s nothing wrong with that. The film has a story that is primed for fun and humor and the characters are pretty amusing. Hart and Gad are both hilarious together and apart and, despite the film going for the very obvious Hollywood happy ending, the end result is something that works and is fairly entertaining. The movie might not be the most memorable or the most worthy of repeat viewings but it’s a fairly serviceable comedy that works more than it doesn’t work.

1 comment:

  1. The Justin Bieber Roast was fucking hysterical.


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