Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Wedding Ringer

Directed by Jeremy Garelick.
2015. Rated R, 101minutes.
Kevin Hart
Josh Gad
Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting
Jenifer Lewis
Ignacio Serricchio
Mimi Rogers
Cloris Leachman
Alan Ritchman
Affion Crockett
Olivia Thirlby
Josh Peck
Jorge Garcia
Joe Namath
Ed "Too Tall" Jones
John Riggins

Doug's (Gad) wedding day is fast approaching. Gretchen (Cuoco-Sweeting), his bride-to-be is pressuring him because she's still not met any of his groomsmen, his best man included. The truth of the matter is that he doesn't have any family nor any friends. Not one. He's yet to tell her this and has simply made up names for all these guys that are supposed to be in a wedding only a few weeks away. Luckily, his overly flamboyant wedding coordinator knows of "a guy" who specializes in these types of situations. The guy is Jimmy (Hart), aka The Wedding Ringer. He literally poses as the best man at anyone's wedding right through the reception, without the knowledge of the unsuspecting brides, of course. Doug's case is special because not only is a best man needed, but seven more guys to fill out the party. In "the business," this is called The Golden Tux. And it has never been done. Jimmy and friends trying to pull it off while Doug struggles to hold it together ensues.

The biggest issue with this movie is that everything is so utterly contrived you can't buy any of it. This starts right away with Jimmy. He has an incredibly ridiculous "movie job." It's like Will Smith's Hitch modified his business plan to be even more absurd. Since that character's lack of overhead made too much sense, Jimmy operates from an office around some foreboding corners and down dark staircases in the basement of an amusement park. This is complete with a secretary/mother figure, Doris, played by Jenifer Lewis. It should go without saying, but we're told this is a lucrative business. Whatever. In addition to this, we have Gretchen's sister Allison (Thirlby) who seems to be onto Doug's and Jimmy's scheme right from the start because, you know, that's the first thing you should suspect. By the way, she is also one half of completely obvious and awkwardly presented budding romance with Jimmy. They don't just lack chemistry, they seem to have no idea what it is.

Sadly, it's arguable that Jimmy is a more believable character than Doug. When we meet him, he's calling people he obviously hasn't spoken to in years and asking them to be his best man. This yields predictably disastrous results. He's doing this from a rather large office with a huge window. He doesn't even flinch when he finds out the $50K price tag for his make-believe friends. My point is such a guy is highly unlikely to be in such a position. Let's run with the idea that he is such a miscast that he doesn't have a single friend. It happens. He's still a highly successful professional by most standards. I'm positive he could cobble together enough co-workers/subordinates/sycophants/people who helped him get where he is to get through this wedding. If he could not accomplish even this, how on Earth does he even approach or get approached by a creature as lovely as Gretchen. If he mustered up that courage why would she ever go on a single date with him, let alone marry him? Yeah, more predictability ahead. This is a huge negative for The Wedding Ringer. It follows bromance protocol as if it's gospel. Whatever is coming is painfully obvious. Every emotional moment is telegraphed well in advance. Every twist of the plot is really just a lazy turn we've already braced ourselves for.

With nothing in the way of originality, we're left to answer one simple question: do we find the antics that drag the dead-weight story along funny enough to overcome the narrative flaws? A large part of your answer will be based on what you think of all the various characters in the makeshift wedding party. Each is armed with some strange and/or revolting quirk they refer to as their party trick. We don't know much beyond that for any of them. The answer to that question is not really. Most of that stems from the one problem I've been harping on all along. We see the gags coming. There is the occasional one that lands with the proper impact, but those are few and far between. Then there's that bit involving the dog that I just can't unsee. It was far more painful and gross than funny. Finally, I did get football-fan giddy when a number of the sport's legends showed up on the screen, including Joe Namath, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, and John Riggins. Add a bit to that since the star of iconic 70s basketball show "The White Shadow," Ken Howard, plays Doug's soon to be father-in-law. However, even that pleasure was fleeting. When all is said and done, we have a movie that gives us a few pockets of laughter with a trite bromance wrapped around them.


  1. "He has an incredibly ridiculous "movie job." It's like Will Smith's Hitch modified his business plan to be even more absurd." This is fantastic stuff, right here.

    This flick screamed, well...politely uttered Redbox to me, but it looks like it's going to be a pass altogether. You'd think the screenwriters may have realized that you can't have everything, but apparently not. Hot wife? Fine. Great job? Okay? Absolutely ZERO friends? Well...that might be a problem.

    1. Yeah, I wasn't planning on paying to see this, but the wife and I went on a massive octuple date with seven other couples and that was the overwhelming winner of the vote. Therefore, I just had to play nice.

  2. I understand that someone like Olivia Thirlby is in this film because she needs the work but man, it's sad that I heard that she's the most normal character in that film.

    1. That's true...and normal is definitely a relative term.

  3. I'm just not a fan of Kevin Hall. His type of humor really irritates me. I just can't bear to watch any films with him in it. It sounds like I'm not missing much if I miss the wedding ringer. In other news, I'm looking forward to seeing all of the entrees on the old is new blogathon. Cheers!

    1. No, you're not missing much. Links will be up in a few short hours!