WEDDING RINGER, THE
Social awkward groom-to-be Doug Harris (Josh Gad) doesn't have any friends and is in a spot when he has to come up with a best man for his upcoming wedding to Gretchen Palmer (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), the girl of his dreams. Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart), the owner and CEO of Best Man Inc, that provides services to make socially challenged guys look like bro-magnet rock stars, pulls out all the stops to put together a team of bogus groomsmen to impress Gretchen's suspicious parents (Ken Howard, Mimi Rogers).
Review by Louise Keller:
Putting a whole new crazy and hilarious twist on the wedding theme, this madcap romp has the crassness of Bridesmaids and The Hangover, the audacity of A Few Best Men and The Wedding Crashers and the heart of The Wedding Singer. A buddy movie, when the protagonist doesn't have any buddies, Jeremy Garelick and Jay Lavender (The Break-Up) have penned a crowd pleasing movie for funnymen Josh Gad and Kevin Hart, who plays the wedding hustler who is anybody's friend for a price, but nobody's when it counts. It's a mix of silly, crass, wild and predictable, but one thing is for sure, Garelick's debut feature is hare-brain funny.
With swift, broad strokes, the set up is clear: Gad's Doug Harris is about to get married but doesn't have a single friend he can call on to be his best man and to balance up numbers for the bride's bridesmaids. There's a name for the required combo of 7 groomsmen and best man - it's a Golden Tux - a service that falls in the realm of unchartered territory for Hart's Jimmy Callahan, whose Best Man services are seemingly in great demand.
'Follow my lead,' Callahan tells Doug as he assumes the outrageous persona of a priest from the army with the unlikely name of Bic Mitchum, who recruits a disparate group of misfits and endows them with fake names, personalities and back stories to suit. Worthy of note, as each of these desperadoes' auditions for the job, they have to show a party trick (PTD), which may be called upon in a moment as a last resort as a desperate distraction.
These include dislocating a shoulder, revealing a third testicle and twitching man-boobs by a lisping he-man stud.
The film's low point involves a wild bucks party of sorts ending with a brush of ice cream, a dog with a wet tongue and tenacious grip and an outrageous dash to the hospital amid booze and pills, a police car in hot pursuit. Grannie (Cloris Leachman) is set on fire, the rehearsal dinner is mayhem, a football match becomes a punch up in the mud and the buck's party that begins with a kidnapping is like a wet dream on LSD.
The dialogue is so fast it's incomprehensible in the early scenes (Hart jabbers at a million miles an hour) but things settle down - or at least they are understood, as the plot gets underway. Sure, it's derivative - the sequence in which photos with groom and groomsmen taken in fake set ups is reminiscent of Greencard and of course, all the situations are milked for everything they are worth. Just like Bridesmaids was all about the girls, The Wedding Ringer is all about the guys.
As opposites, Hart and Gad work well together and the fact that Callahan goes through his own personal crisis, allows the ups and downs of the true measure of friendship to strike a chord by the end. Of course, all hell breaks loose at the wedding - but then, you wouldn't expect anything less, would you?
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WEDDING RINGER, THE (MA15+)
CAST: Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Alan Ritchson, , Nicky Whelan, Catherine Chen, Olivia Thirlby, Cloris Leachman, Jorge Garcia, Mimi Rogers
PRODUCER: Adam Fields, William Packer
DIRECTOR: Jeremy Garelick
SCRIPT: Jeremy Garelick, Jay Lavender
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Brad Lipson
EDITOR: Jeff Groth, Shelly Westerman, Byron Wong
MUSIC: Christopher Lennertz
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Chris Cornwell
RUNNING TIME: 101 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 29, 2015