Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn make a perfect comedy pair close to the same vein as Bill Murray and Harold Ramis; close but not as legendary, and nowhere near the statures of Newman and Redford.
“Wedding Crashers” was the the first of their two collaborations and the movie works as it charges forth in its raunchiness and unabashed thrust to not hold back. Fortunately, a guy named David Dobkin directed a script from Steve Faber and Bob Fisher long before the age of “Me Too.” What a denial of a great idea we would have, had this film been made later. Reader, “Wedding Crashers” was never intended to be politically correct. If it even thought about it for a second the entire production would have failed.
Just go with this. Wilson and Vaughn are John and Jeremy, practicing marital law mediators (I said go with it!), who relish in debauchery by crashing weddings as an opportunity to score one babe after another. Dobkin and crew assemble a fantastic early montage of various nuptials to show how well John and Jeremy play this field of formality. We get to see them in action in all of the different methods of charming the parents, to telling sob stories and crying false tears, to making balloon animals for the youngsters as a means to catch the attention of a beautiful bridesmaid or attractive guest that is caught up in the sanctum of love. One after the other a braless gal pal is tossed onto a bed ready for John and/or Jeremy. Call it refreshing but at least these players are equal opportunists; Jewish, Irish, Italian, Indian. Every kind of wedding ceremony imaginable is given attention. These guys are so fine tuned at what they do that there is even a rule book, which you can reference on IMDB, or on the Blu Ray extra.
When Secretary Cleary’s (Christopher Walken with not nearly enough to do) daughter is getting married, one last hurrah before wedding season closes is upon them. John immediately becomes attracted to the bride’s sister, played spiritually by Rachel McAdams, while Jeremy oversteps himself with the youngest and overly clingy sister who makes sadomasochism seem G rated. She is played by Isla Fisher. To my surprise, following the success of this film, Fisher never really became more mainstream. She’s the scene stealer. When she begs Walken to let the men stay for the weekend at their New England island home, I lost it. I was dying at her antics. Fisher is so good. She had to have invented some of this material herself. An amazing comedienne. The stomping feet. The poutiness. This is comedy. Fisher never holds back in every scene she’s in and because of her, Vaughn as her lustful prey is all the better in his tormented state.
Another scene stealer is Bradley Cooper, playing McAdams bullying boyfriend. Cooper probably made this character bigger than the script intended. Again, I lost it as the family and guests warm up for a friendly game of flag football. Cooper is in his own zone apart from the others as he goes through regiment drills of what equates to an unhinged Marine. He’s cruelly brutal but he’s terribly funny. Later in the film his part might get too sadistic though as he punches Wilson bare knuckled that truly sounds like a crack of skull. There’s nothing really funny there. This is beyond a Three Stooges slap or eye poke. Sometimes less is more. Blame that on Dobkin.
Other parts are wasted though they start out promising like Jane Seymour, Walken’s wife, Fisher & McAdams mother, who serves as a sex craved Mrs. Robinson. She’s given a presence though her story never really delivers. As well, there’s a resentful gay brother (Kier O’Donnell) who dresses in black and bears a striking resemblance to Gru from “Despicable Me.” The character makes a good entrance but is primarily there to further torment Vaughn in a quick bed hop scene. Then there’s not much else.
McAdams plays meet cute just fine with Wilson. Though with much interference from the rest of the characters during the course of the weekend you really don’t get a sense of how McAdams falls for Wilson as well as why Wilson goes against his Crasher code and obsessively falls for her. Not much beyond dream like gazes at each other across the room. For the romance to really work, these characters have to talk with each other a whole lot more than just a token wave crashing beach scene.
The 3rd act is expected. The boy loses the girl. He takes lonely walks down the street, he becomes a slob and he makes one failed effort after another to win the girl back. For a raunchy comedy that was moving with lightning hilarity, this 3rd act really slows the movie down. It ran way too long.
Still, “Wedding Crasher” is a great comedy most especially thanks to the concept of taking advantage of what can typically happen at any wedding reception and the uncompromising comedy of both Isla Fisher and most of Bradley Cooper’s material.
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