Wedding Crashers Review

Posted: May 30, 2014 by moviebuff801 in Barrage of the Blockbusters, moviebuff801's Movie Reviews, Time Capsule Reviews

Release Date: July 15th, 2005

Running Time: 1 hour and 58 minutes

Written by: Steve Faber & Bob Fisher

Directed by: David Dobkin

Starring: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, Isla Fisher

By: Michael “MovieBuff801” Dennos

Let’s flash back for a moment to 2005, the year when the R-rated comedy began its reign, spewing their sex jokes, penis humor and nudity left and right. Specifically, let’s take a look back on the movie which arguably kicked off the generally high-grossing box office success of this genre that same year, and no, I’m not talking about The 40 Year-Old Virgin. Instead, I’m talking about Wedding Crashers, released a month earlier and more in the tradition of 90’s and early 2000’s comedies featuring the kind of guys who ran the scene before the Judd Apatow generation took over, but just as funny — if not more so — than those movies, in my opinion. Even nearly a decade later, this movie holds up fairly well for the most part.

The “crashers” of the title are John Beckwith (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn), two divorce mediators/best friends in Washington, D.C. whose primary source of tail are the numerous women they seduce and bed by crashing as many weddings as they can, an art in and of itself. But this constant and deceitful playboy lifestyle is finally starting to take its toll on John, who is now recognizing his desire for more meaningful relationships. He’s presented with an opportunity for one during his and Jeremy’s latest project, the wedding of one of the daughters of the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, William Cleary (Christopher Walken), where another one of Cleary’s daughters, Claire (Rachel McAdams), catches his eye. The two seem to hit it off instantly, but there’s just one tiny problem: Claire, of course, has a jerk of a boyfriend named Sack (Bradley Cooper), who impedes John at nearly every turn. Meanwhile, Jeremy has chosen to sleep with Cleary’s third, and seemingly wacked-out, daughter Gloria (Isla Fisher) of all people, and in so doing, the two wind up invited to Cleary’s family mansion for a weekend get-together. For John, this is the perfect opportunity to win Claire over but for John, all it means is a weekend in hell with a “Stage Five Clinger” who’s determined to make him her new sex toy. And that’s not to mention all the scrutiny the two crashers are receiving that could expose their whole secret.

Upon my recent re-watch of this movie for this review, I fully realized just how much — or, little — actual wedding crashing there is here for a movie called Wedding Crashers. But, is that a bad thing? Well, yes and no. Yes, because the early scenes that focus on that premise are really fun and full of laughs and energy and no, because when you think about it, there’s really only so much you can do with a premise like this. I actually imagine it would be pretty hard to sustain it for a solid two hours, and the filmmakers seemed to have realized it, too, seeing as how it switches gears and story focus after the first forty minutes. But in retrospect, I’d say forty minutes of wedding crashing is ample time to do pretty much everything one can with that situation. Now, if the shift in focus had been any less funny or entertaining, then I’d consider this more of a problem with the movie than an asset, but because there’s still plenty of laughs to be had in the Second Act, I don’t mind it so much. And this stuff on display here is certainly funnier than any of the alleged hilarity offered up in dreck like The Heat and 21 Jump Street, if you ask me.

Okay, so allow me to get at the glue that really holds this entire movie together: Vince Vaughn. To get straight to the point, I think this is Vaughn’s funniest comedic performance. Seriously, he’s on fire here. That’s not to say that everybody else is worthless in this film, but come on, Vaughn is just on a whole ‘nother level. But before I get to him, it’s only fair that I talk about the other cast members first. Whereas Owen Wilson had been known before this movie as the funny one out of whatever duo featured in one of his movies, here he’s the straight man in a more than respectable performance. Wilson gets his fair share of funny moments and jokes, which he of course nails, but he also gets a good amount of straighter and more serious moments in comparison to Vaughn. While Wilson is good with those as well, they’re part of a section in the film that I’m not too crazy about — but more on that in just a hot second. Rachel McAdams is, duh, adorable as Claire; I don’t think I need to elaborate any more on that, though. It seems redundant, doesn’t it? Because you just know McAdams is gonna be adorable in a role like this all the time — that is, provided the material’s there. And in the case of Wedding Crashers, let’s just say it is and it isn’t, that McAdams still manages to be good in the midst of an onslaught of clichés. But more importantly, she and Owen Wilson have solid chemistry. And as always, you put Christopher Walken in a movie, and any scene featuring him will be fun to watch.

But back to Vince Vaughn … man, does he steal this movie. He’s like a tornado of comedic energy here, sucking up all the laughs he can in any scene he tears through. Most of this comes about as a result of all the various situations his character is put through which, let’s face it, is abuse of all kinds, but still, it’s all hilarious and Vaughn’s reactions to these situations are priceless. Consider two scenes: the dinner table scene and the sequence in which Jeremy has two “midnight visitors.” It’s not so much the situations themselves that are so funny, it’s how Vaughn plays those scenes. In fact, the filmmakers could have just made a movie entirely about the relationship between Jeremy and Gloria and they still would have had something.

However, Wedding Crashers isn’t without its low points. Despite all the laughs it consistently provides, everything still essentially boils down to the typical and tired romantic comedy tropes we’ve seen a million times, which in my opinion drag the Third Act down somewhat. In fact, it’s the romantic comedy backbone of the movie that’s really the least interesting aspect, because there’s no question of how it’ll all turn out in the end and how the movie milks the situation for a while there just gets a bit tiresome. If the rest of the film hadn’t been so funny, then maybe I wouldn’t be so forgiving there, but hey, at least we get a really good extended Will Ferrell cameo out of it.

All in all, Wedding Crashers is a really fun time. Maybe it lacks the “refinery” of the best the Judd Apatow factory has to offer, but you know what? At the end of the day, it’s funny, and that’s always the number one criteria for a comedy, and what it does good, it does very good, so I’ll keep on laughing.

***1/2 /****

NEXT TIME: George Lucas just makes it so easy to mock his movies these days.

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