Film Review by Jeffrey Winters
Wedding Crashers is an R Rated comedy that is silly, absurd, ribald, and fun. It stars Owen Wilson as John Beckwith and Vince Vaughn as Jeremy Klein. They’ve been best friends for 16 years and work together as divorce mediators. They have a well defined code for crashing weddings with the goal of seducing vulnerable women and having sex with them. The sexual situations are not always politically correct and have a nut case lusty farcical quality shared by the duo and the women they embrace.
The beginning of the film has some of the best editing you will see by Mark Livolsi as he shows Owen (John) and Vince (Jeremy) at a Jewish wedding dancing the Hora and picking up women, then dancing and giving toasts at Italian, Irish, Indian and Chinese weddings. At each wedding they blend in by dancing with the grandparents of the bride or making toy balloons for the kids. They have rehearsed stories which falsely connect them to the family of the bride and groom. There’s a great montage of each wedding where Jeremy leads each wedding party into dancing and drinking shots to the Isley Brothers “Shout.”
The worst thing I can say about this film is it could have been better and funnier, and it is to long. First time screenplay writers Steve Faber and Bob Fischer run out of sizzle. What they have going for them is Vince Vaughn improvising with Owen Wilson . These guys have played similar roles in other comedies but “Wedding Crashers” gives them an opportunity to be more dynamic and witty. Part of the reason it works is they have great chemistry together. A male buddy movie with mediocre chemistry is an instant sleeper. Different humor, but remember Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin together in Midnight Run. Their banter made the film a success.
After their interlude of quickies and ethnic weddings, where the food and dance change, but the game is the same, John and Jeremy run into a serious time. They crash Treasury Secretary Cleary’s oldest daughter’s wedding. Christopher Walken plays the US Secretary. Walken is great at bizarre and other worldly humor. But in his role as the wealthy east coast WASP (their estate in Maryland has a yacht and sail boat) patriarch of a totally dysfunctional and neurotic family, he acts like a straight man. That is a mistake because his goofy laugh with that twisted smile would have made the film bounce during the slow spots.
Jeremy (Vaughn) has sex on the beach with Cleary’s youngest daughter Gloria who tells him she is a virgin. He freaks out only to find out she is consumed with lust and he is becoming her prisoner. Isla Fischer does a great job bringing fast and furious humor to her part. At the same time John (Owen) is falling in love with the other Cleary daughter Claire (Rachel McAdams) who is going to get hitched to Bradley Cooper. Cooper plays the part of a sadistic and controlling man whose ego is larger than the lawn of the weekend estate.
John and Jeremy begin leaving their boyhood seducing teamwork behind as they start to fall for the Cleary women. Both men go through superficial changes in order to adjust to their new manhood. But director David Dobkin (“Shanghai Knights”) interrupts the male bonding friendship theme by introducing Will Ferrell into the remaining moments of the film. Ferrell is the original guru for how to crash a wedding and get laid. All I can say is he reminds me of Chevy Chase when Chase was not all that funny except for his slapstick routines. I don’t find Ferrell funny at all.
“Wedding Crashers” is a total departure from the many summer films that don’t even attempt to be funny. Funny is good and we need more of it.