The Wedding Ringer – Review by Cormac Fitzgerald
Director: Jeremy Garelick
Writers: Jeremy Garelick, Jay Lavender
Stars: Kevin Hart, Josh Gad, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting
It’s safe to say that any movie named after a play on the title of an Adam Sandler movie isn’t setting the bar too high – and at least in this respect The Wedding Ringer doesn’t disappoint: A low-brow, low-hitting, lowest common denominator “bro-mance” comedy that fails to deliver in almost every single way.
Hapless Doug Harris (Josh Gad) is set to marry a woman he considers far his superior, but he has a problem – he has no friends and therefore no best man for the ceremony. He is directed to the services of Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart), CEO of Best Man Inc., who provides best man services for a fee. Doug employs Callahan and the pair assemble a crackpot team of mismatched groomsmen to pull off the ruse – among them a convicted felon, an Asian man with three testicles and Hurley from Lost. Together they get up to all kinds of hi-jinks as they get ready for the wedding and Doug gets to learn about what it’s like to chill with the bros he never had.
If the premise seems a bit ridiculous, that’s because it is. A barely functioning vehicle used to advance a near-constant supply of crude, misjudged humour that frequently misses the mark. There’s rape jokes, gay jokes, sex jokes all wrapped up in a quasi-sentimental nonsensical story about – I think – the power of male bonding and how women ruin everything.
And that’s the real kicker, movies like The Wedding Ringer are so bad that not only are they detrimental to the sensibilities and wallets of all who go to see them but are indicative a larger and more dangerous Hollywood trend that should be on the way out: the portrayal of women as either bitchy manipulator or idealised sex object or as just plain uncool neurotics who get in the way of all the bro-bonding. If a woman isn’t dancing sexily or groping genitals then she’s complaining or, more worryingly, being set on fire. Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting (from The Big Bang Theory) plays Doug’s bride-to-be and her arc goes from boring and vapid to just plain nasty.
Serious gripes aside, maybe some this could work on some level if the movie didn’t doubt itself so much: character interaction is flat and lifeless, jokes crop up and are expelled without proper delivery, a bizarre football sequence seems like it was completely lifted from another film. There is no coherency of plot or structure and as it trundles towards a bizarre conclusion all the stupid twists and unlikeable characters make it unclear as to what exactly is going on and who we should be rooting for.
Now, few though they are, the movie is not without its good qualities. Kevin Hart is a genuinely funny comedic actor. The Martin Lawrence of our times, he has good on screen charisma and can pull off the most poorly scripted gags. Josh Gad, too, has his moments, usually in the form of slapstick which generally gets a laugh. It’s good to see that the age old funny-formula of fat people falling down is still as effective as ever. The chemistry between both actors occasionally flares up – a drawn out dance scene between the two had me genuinely laughing – but like everything else in the movie is stifled by the flat script and ridiculous plot.
You might say it’s aimed at a certain audience, but no audience should be subjected to this. The Wedding Ringer is an archetypal bad movie that deserves to be forgotten as immediately as it’s seen.
Categories: Header, Movie Review, Movies
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