Review: The Wedding Ringer
PLOT: With only ten days before marrying the girl of his dreams, a nerdish but successful young man decides to rent a best man for the big day. As this unlikely friendship blossoms, he soon realizes he may be more than he ever thought he was worth - plus a bunch of crude stuff happens.
Is it any shock that THE WEDDING RINGER is low-brow comedy that takes a decent idea and bleeds it dry? This is another one of those movies that is not made for critics and thats fine. There are a ton of dumb movies that manage to have some sort of reward. However, this is not one of them. This is a lazy script with terrible jokes and an ending you can see from coming from the first couple of scenes. Many of the lines of dialogue are so bloody awful and predictable that you will find yourself quoting them before they happen. Its a shame really because there could have been something appropriately crude and charming hidden under all this obnoxious mess.
This is the story of a nerdish but amiable guy named Doug (Josh Gad) who is getting married. And while his fiancée Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) is busy planning for the big day, he discovers that he has not a single friend to be his best man. And since this is a huge wedding, he needs a ton more guys for groomsmen as well. With the help of a stereotypical wedding planner with a twist (?) he comes across a best man for hire. Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart) is a smooth talking businessman who makes his living pretending to take on the coveted role for guys just like Doug. Will their financial exchange turn into a bromance? And will the hilarious, sort of R-rated high jinks add up to much? Not even close. With a script written by director Jeremy Garelick (co-written with Jay Lavender) there is very little that is actually laugh out loud funny, or funny at all really. With a few outrageously over-the-top sequences, including the bachelor party gone wrong, a two-handed touch football game that gets dirty and a family dinner scene that made me feel very bad for the comedic great Cloris Leachman, it is almost depressing how low they go. And worst of all the scenes seem to be stitched together with no real point, aside from getting the audience to laugh at a dog with lockjaw no animals were harmed aside from being forced into this movie. In fact, the very few moments that had some semblance of heart and fun had nothing to do with the desperate need to get laughs.
Kevin Hart can be very funny, and he manages to offer up a couple of credible moments. When he develops a connection with the brides sister (played by the lovely Olivia Thirlby), there is an actual spark - had the movie been about these two we would have all been better off. Still, both Gad and Hart manage to work well enough together. In one cheerfully fun sequence, the two provide a little dancing entertainment for a wedding party and it is surprisingly fun. Its just a shame that they have nothing substantial to work with. And once they pick the unlikely guys to portray the fake groomsman, you will be hard pressed to find any interest in this misfit group of stereotypes. There are a lot of prison jokes if that is your cup of tea. Credit can be given only to be taken away in the final act which I wouldnt want to spoil for anybody to the filmmakers for giving a decent reason why the hot chick likes the nerdy guy. And when he makes the right choice, it is completely negated by the end. Its unfortunate that Ms. Cuoco-Sweeting is just so bland here, it is hard to care one iota what happens to her. The intimate scenes are incredibly awkward between her and Gad, which is explained later on, but the two simply have zero on-screen chemistry. They werent funny and they werent even interesting together. At least Thirlby lights up the screen a little every time she appears, unfortunately it isnt enough.
This is a stupid comedy that is far below the talents of the actors involved. There are a couple of jokes that are reasonably funny, but the big, ridiculous scenes are near painful to sit through. Aside from a couple of amusing monologues from Hart there is little to laugh at. I did appreciate a couple of moments in the final act which injected a tad bit of enjoyment, but it is too little too late to really make up for the first hour and twenty minutes or so. THE WEDDING RINGER is an empty comedy that relies on tedious stereotypes and predictable jokes, only superficially exploring what could have been a good idea. The two out of ten is for the unexpectedly good Hart and Thirlby connection.
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