October 25, 2005 -- “The Wedding Crashers” is what Hollywood likes to call a “broad” comedy. That is not a comedy about broads, but a comedy that is, well, not very sophisticated. Some might call it low-brow comedy, or even vulgar comedy. Whatever it is, America has responded enthusiastically to it. In a year of disappointing box office results, this film is one of those rare bright spots. This modestly-budgeted film has made more than $200 million at the box office. What makes this film so popular? Well, it is funny. It is also the best showcase for Vince Vaughn's comedic talent I have ever seen. As bad as he was in “Be Cool,” he was just the opposite in this film. He practically carried this film on his back.
I have not been impressed with Vince Vaughn's comic efforts in the past, but he was overpowering in this film. His frantic, nervous brand of comedy gave this sagging, inconsistent story enough energy to push this movie over the top. Owen Wilson, the other wedding crasher, does what he usually does. He projects his usual laid back, sleazily charming personae. This time, he and Vaughn play small-time romantic grifters. They crash weddings for free food and drinks, along with lots of available women. They pretend to be rich, successful businessmen so they can more easily score romantic victories.
Then, one day, they both fall in love with women they meet at a wedding, and their well-laid plans unravel. They stay too long and their true identities are discovered. The story then changes. Will the wedding crashers find true love? Who cares? When the story wanders off into the land of romantic comedy it becomes hard to sustain. When Wilson becomes depressed, he becomes so lethargic he is almost comatose. The story almost grinds to a halt because Vaughn almost disappears from the plot at this point. It picks up a little when Will Ferrell of “Bewitched” enters the story as the original wedding-crasher mentor to both Vaughn and Wilson. He is still living at home and is now crashing funerals. Finally, there is a rousing and satisfying conclusion.
It is an uneven film which has a lot of barren, humorless patches while various characters sulk and feel sorry for themselves. It is hard to work up much sympathy for them. It is hard, for instance to feel sorry for a wealthy daughter to agrees to marry an obnoxious, unfaithful jerk who also is a control freak. This is not a believable match, but it is convenient for the plot. A beautiful, wealthy girl has more choices in romance than a rich jerk or a small-time hustler. Such a girl can be very selective. The wedding crashers themselves don't have much credibility after crashing 300 weddings and pretending to be so many other people. Their supposed high regard for women is also questionable. They make poor protagonists.
Nevertheless, there is a considerable fun factor in the movie with its wedding party atmosphere, lively music, dancing and Vince Vaughn's energetic performance. Will Ferrell spices up the movie with his usual zaniness as well. The positives raise this film to just above average. This film rates a C+.
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