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"Wedding Crashers"

Directed by David Dobkin.
Written by Steve Faber and Bob Fisher.
Starring Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams and Christopher Walken.
Release Year:  2005
Review Date:  7/19/2005


Following a spirited debate after seeing the new comedy "Wedding Crashers", I'm sticking to my guns:  this one is a strong Matinee, not a $9.50 Show.

Why?  It certainly wasn't the initial plot:  two D.C. divorce lawyers, John (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy (Vince Vaughn), make a career out of spending summers crashing other people's weddings.  It also has nothing to do with the idea that Wilson and Vaughn can provide us with quality laughs, since they are essentially playing themselves for the umpteenth time in this film.  Those two things, when left alone, make "Wedding Crashers" a great film, an exemplary film.

Unfortunately, the actual wedding-crashing portion is completely finished by the 30-minute mark of the running time.  Then, we get the film's REAL plot:  At the last wedding of the summer, John meets a woman named Claire (Rachel McAdams, from "Mean Girls") that he falls in love with, but in order to pursue her, he and Jeremy must keep up their cover at this wedding, that they are venture capitalists from New Hampshire who are the sons of a recently-widowed uncle.  This gets them in good with Claire's father, the Secretary of the Treasury (Christopher Walken), and allows the two crashers to spend the weekend with the Secretary's family on an estate somewhere in Maryland while John pursues Claire.  Oh, and one other thing--Claire has an asshole for a boyfriend named Sack (Bradley Cooper, from the first couple of seasons of "Alias"), so John must find a way around that angle, too.

As the other five people who came with me tonight to see this flick know, I spent the first hour of this thing laughing hysterically.  The wedding crashing montage was great.  Scenes leading up to the John/Claire sequence of events were great.  When John and Jeremy first get to the Secretary's house, through a dinner where Jeremy's recent conquest, Gloria (Isla Fisher), gives Jeremy a handjob while Grandma is dropping gay slang on Todd, the black sheep of the family, through nighttime activities featuring rope, Mom's new, ahem, chest ornaments, and a painting of Jeremy on the, "Wedding Crashers" was heading towards 100%, no-doubt-about-it, signed-sealed-and-delivered Opening Weekend territory.

Then, the real plot started to kick in.  There was suddenly less Vaughn, more Wilson; I thought this was a bad idea.  Suddenly, "Wedding Crashers" sprinkled Vaughn in-between romantic (???) scenes featuring Wilson and McAdams.  Then we get to a turning point where the Secretary and his family learn the real motives behind John and Jeremy's actions...and, instead of ending, we get almost 30 more minutes of John drinking himself to sleep, crashing weddings solo and longing for his true love.  Vaughn disappears almost entirely.  We get maybe the worst cameo on record by Will Ferrell, who by his very presence is normally good for 3-5 laughs but gets a cheap one or two here ("Mom, where's the meat loaf?  FUCK!!!" is not gonna cut it).

And then, maybe the worst offense...NO OUTTAKES?  Are you kidding me?  For comedies of this type, outtakes ought to be a given; shit, the director (David Dobkin) just directed Wilson in "Shanghai Knights", so I know he knows what outtakes are; you can't tell me that Vaughn didn't have some classic stuff on the cutting room floor that can have been slapped together for a five-minute clip!  Outtakes and comedies like this have to go hand-in-hand, work together, you know?

Ugh.  The comedy from the first hour was classic, through and through.  I can't remember any of it--specific lines are eluding me now--but trust me, good times.  For the record, the height of the action from the first hour was good enough to warrant a $9.50 Show in the eyes of one Mike "Yac" Iacovone, even IF he is a self-admitted Owen Wilson fan.  But, I thought the falloff from the first hour was so strong--and you have plenty of time for that, with a running time of almost 2 hours, WAY too long for comedies like this one--and that dropped it down a grade for me.  Also, the great comedies have scenes and lines that stick with us long after we leave the theater, I think...just to compare recent films, even "Anchorman" has that hilarious jazz flute sequence or that brawl featuring rival news anchors; lines like maybe the best from "Old School", "You're my boy, Blue!" or "Earmuffs!" or "Once it hits your lips, it's so good!" hit you right away as being great lines; I couldn't easily tell which lines from "Wedding Crashers" will be great, since none of them strikes you with the wow factor. 

It's too bad that "Wedding Crashers" isn't about people that do just that, because THAT would have been a great movie.  And for chrissakes, Owen, please fix that nose of yours!!

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09