johnlink ranks WEDDING CRASHERS (2005)

By 2005 I was sort of all set with Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell and comedies starring any number of those guys. Not that I dislike any of them now, I just stopped rushing out to see their stuff because it was all pretty much the same. So, somehow, as WEDDING CRASHERS hits its 10th anniversary next month, it is one of those well regarded comedies that I just never got around to seeing. Until now.

owen-and-vince-owen-wilson-and-vince-vaughn-in-the-movie-wedding-crashers

I watched WEDDING CRASHERS (2005) on 6.17.15. It was my first viewing of the film.

For a film which has such a misogynistic surface, the best thing WEDDING CRASHERS did was to hire some amazingly talented females. The premise has John (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) as a couple of buddies who crash weddings in order to get girls. They create new identities every time, new backstories, and new tricks. As the first act comes to a close we know something will change for these guys – and we know that love will be the thing that changes them. But in getting there, we’re asked to like these guys for their creativity and humor as they lie and manipulate their way into bed. Lest we are supposed to think the girls are enjoying what they get out of it too, the balls-to-the-wall montage ends with a girl leaving bed disappointed.

But that all comes to an end quickly enough when they crash the wedding of the daughter of a famous government official, Secretary Cleary (Christopher Walken). While at the wedding, John falls for the middle daughter Claire (Rachel McAdams) and Jeremy gets roped by the crazy youngest daughter, Gloria (Isla Fisher). Meanwhile, in a plot diversion which ends with an invited groping, John is also being pursued by the girls’ mother, Kathleen (Jane Seymour).

It is these three women who infuse this movie with exactly what it needs at the time: competent and funny women. Most movies have the charming, sweet, funny leading lady. Rachel McAdams has always been one of the best at that, and she does not disappoint here. And Jane Seymour does a ton with what little she has. But what WEDDING CRASHERS nails is the sex-crazed Gloria in Isla Fisher. In a movie with comedy titans Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson (not to mention Christopher Walken doing his thing), Isla Fisher is consistently the funniest thing about this movie. She matches the frantic energy of Vaughn in a believable way with really solid payoff.

wedding_crashers_18

That this movie borrows heavily from its contemporaneous comedies is ok. The crazy girl is basically the 2.0 version of this-one-time-at-band-camp from AMERICAN PIE. Heck, there is even a whole bunch of Stifler’s mom in Kathleen. The football scene is a retread of the volleyball scene in MEET THE PARENTS (heck, Owen Wilson is even IN that scene in MEET THE PARENTS). Some of the wedding jokes aren’t all that different from similar fare in THE WEDDING SINGER (and Grandma Ellen Albertini Dow – the meatball lady from the Adam Sandler movie – is also used in a similar role here) Bradley Cooper playing Claire’s boyfriend is basically the same cheating scumbag from every other romantic-comedy. But what makes WEDDING CRASHERS so popular is the way these tropes are milked by legitimately funny performances from some really talented folks.

This is as movie set in Washington DC about some people who lie to get by. It isn’t too subtle in that regard, but we don’t need it to be. When this movie settles down and the family invites the boys back to their estate, it feels like everything should grind to a halt. But because this movie works hard at crafting characters we like, it never really does. The comedy comes in quick enough hits, the dialogue is witty, and we can enjoy it for what it is.

But, again, WEDDING CRASHERS really comes down to how much the women in this movie elevate it. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn are funny, no doubt. But without McAdams and Fisher matching them – and besting them at times – this is just another forgettable comedy. Everyone is in good form here, and it makes this a movie which is fun to watch, but the actresses are the best thing about it.

Plot holes? Of course! It’s a comedy! But those plot holes really do not matter. There is true fun to be had with WEDDING CRASHERS, even ten years after it hit theaters.

SCORES

FILM: 5; MOVIE: 9; ACTING: 7; WRITING: 7

5+9+7+7+0=28

FINAL SCORE: 7 out of 10

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~ by johnlink00 on June 17, 2015.

One Response to “johnlink ranks WEDDING CRASHERS (2005)”

  1. John, you totally nailed it about the female performances. Isla Fisher steals the show!

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