Wedding Crashers Review
By Shawn McKenzie 07/15/2005
Owen Wilson hasn’t led a movie on his own since 2001’s Behind Enemy Lines, and I don’t think Vince Vaughn has led a movie ever without a co-lead, so it is no shock that the two actors are once again buddying up in a comedy. Fortunately, Wedding Crashers is a very funny comedy for the duo to team up in together.
John Beckwith (Wilson) and Jeremy Grey (Vaughn) are divorce mediators from Washington D.C. who have been best friends and business partners for 16 years. Their most recent mediation is between Mr. and Mrs. Kroeger (Dwight Yoakam and Rebecca De Mornay), a couple whom the guys are trying to help settle their divorce amicably. Every year they partake in wedding season (they don’t give a specific period, but as a mobile DJ myself, I know that “wedding season” usually goes from April to August.) What they do is crash weddings by posing under fake names and pretending to be related to or know someone in the wedding party. They do this so that they can get free food or drink, and to take advantage of hot single women who are in a romantic mood after being at the wedding. Most of the women that they sleep with later realize that the guys are full of BS, like Vivian (Diora Baird), one of John’s conquests. They both learned these skills from the master of all wedding crashers, the legendary Chazz Reinhold (Will Ferrell.) They don’t care what ethnicity of the wedding that they attend…Jewish, Italian, Irish, Chinese, Hindu, etc…they will crash it. This year’s wedding season is just about over, and John is ready to take it easy and might even consider retiring on top, because he’s getting a little old for this kind of juvenile activity, but Jeremy has discovered the Superbowl of all weddings to crash. Secretary of the Treasury William Cleary (Christopher Walken) is going to give away his oldest daughter Christina (Jenny Alden) in marriage to her new husband Craig (Geoff Stults), with the ceremony being overseen by the family priest, Father O’Neil (Henry Gibson.) John reluctantly goes along with it, and they easily crash the ceremony and reception, posing as brothers John and Jeremy Ryan, a couple of venture capitalists from New Hampshire. Both of them meet William’s other daughters, Gloria (Isla Fisher) and her older sister Claire (Rachel McAdams.) Jeremy seduces Gloria and takes her to the beach to have sex with her, but is shocked when she tells him that the experience was her first time, and that she is now in love with him. This freaks him out, and he tries to get John to leave as soon as possible. John isn’t ready to leave though, because he is trying put the moves on Claire. Unfortunately, she has a jerky boyfriend named Sack Lodge (Bradley Cooper), but he thinks that he will still be able to win over her heart. Gloria, wanting to spend more time with the new love of her life, talks William into letting Jeremy and John come back with them to their shore compound in Maryland. Jeremy really doesn’t want to come, because he thinks that Gloria might be a psycho, but John talks him into it stating that one of the wedding crashing rules is that you never leave a man behind. When they get to the compound, they meet the rest of the family. William’s wife, Kathleen (Jane Seymour), pulls a Mrs. Robinson and tries to seduce John by having him feel her newly implanted breasts. She tells John that she has been married for 30 years but has only been faithful for two of them. William and Kathleen’s only son, Todd (Keir O’Donnell), is a moody gay artist who is attracted to Jeremy (both he and Gloria take turns trying to tie Jeremy to his bed for sexual reasons.) The matriarch of the family, Grandma Mary (Ellen Albertini Dow) has a foul mouth. Flip (Carson Elrod) and Kip (Josh Wheeler) are a couple of Cleary cousins who help Sack torture Jeremy for unknown reasons during a touch football game. Randolph (Ron Canada) is the Cleary familys’ longtime Jamaican pot-smoking butler who doesn’t like Sack too well, since he is well aware of Sack’s philandering outside of his relationship with Claire. As Jeremy continues to get tortured, John starts to fall in love with Claire, who seems to be falling for John as well. This is something that concerns Sack, and he calls his friend Trap (David Conrad) to investigate the Ryan brothers. John and Jeremy’s friendship becomes seriously altered once Sack exposes them as wedding crashers, along with their relationships with Claire and Gloria, respectively.
David Dobkin directed this hilarious comedy, using the script from screenwriting team of Steve Faber and Bob Fisher. I don’t know how much of it was improvised, but the dialogue spoken by Wilson and Vaughn is great. Dobkin directed both of them in previous films individually (Vaughn in 1998’s Clay Pigeons, Wilson in 2003’s Shanghai Knights), so they all have history. The two actors have great chemistry together, and their chemistry with their respective female leads is great as well. Wilson is the straight man, while Vaughn delivers most of the funniest lines. McAdams is on a hot streak, so I will forgive her for The Notebook. Fisher has been in the acting game for over ten years, but this is the first time I’ve heard of her. She reminds me of a young Debra Messing, both in her physical look and her manic comedic timing. Walken didn’t have a lot to do here, despite being a huge name in the movie. Seymour was surprisingly risqué as the randy mother, but her storyline seemed to go away after the first half of the movie. Cooper really needs a lead role, because he has been a great supporting character for years. I first noticed him as Will Tippin on ABC’s “Alias,” and I’ve been following his career ever since (he was a lead in the 2004 ABC Family TV movie “I Want to Marry Ryan Banks,” but he needs a lead feature film role.)
In this year of remakes and sequels, Wedding Crashers is a welcome relief. Despite its chick flick-like second half, this is an amusing movie to take a date to see. It is very adult (my critic friend Reggie McDaniel said that he wouldn’t even take his 35-year-old daughter to see it), but if you are an adult, I recommend checking it out with your date…in sickness or in health, for as long as you both shall live (while watching the movie at least.)
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