Director: Jeremy Garelick
Starring: Kevin Hart, Josh Gad, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Olivia Thirlby
Release Date (US): 16th January, 2015
Company: Screen Gems/Miramax
“God created the world in seven days. I gotta do a whole lot more in a lot less time.” – Jimmy Callahan
Funny men Josh Gad (Frozen) and Kevin Hart (Ride Along) team-up for a new buddy comedy – about pretending to have buddies. Gad plays Doug, a wealthy guy who’s about to marry the love of his life. The only issue is: he has no friends to be his groomsmen. His unlikely saviour comes in the form of Jimmy Callahan – a professional best man who fakes friendship for cash. Together, they have to pull off the whole charade without a Hitch (*cough*) – and, in the process, start to form an unexpected budding bromance together.
January is never a great movie month – for any genre. It’s usually full of flops, wannabe franchises and Oscar-bait misfires. Yet every so often, a somewhat passable comedy sneaks under the radar. The Wedding Ringer is this year’s somewhat passable comedy. It may be cursed by an obscenely generic premise, but it still does exactly what it says on the tin – making the audience laugh, and delivering a bit of Hart (*cough*) along the way.
It’s the partnership between the two leads that provides the entertainment factor. While they may be stereotypically mis-matched in the personality department, Doug & Jimmy’s budding friendship is still enormous fun to watch onscreen. The rest is far less impressive. Mostly just a collection of cheap gags and over-the-top gimmicks (with a pinch of misogynistic humour too), this comedy is not about to set the world on fire anytime soon.
“These guys can not be my groomsmen. It looks like the entire cast of Goonies grew up and became rapists!” – Doug Harris
As previously indicated, The Wedding Ringer gets by solely on the strength and chemistry between its two leads. In Jimmy, Kevin Hart crafts a cocky and entertaining douchebag, who is surprisingly easy to love. Often criticised for his loud and brash portrayals, Hart undoubtedly delivers plenty of his trademark charm here. And yet, there’s an added emotional element in Jimmy that’s been missing from his other ‘loud-mouth’ characters.
Gad is a quiet success with his portrayal of Doug. Dorky, sweet and surprisingly funny, he manages to complement Hart’s antics without ever being overshadowed. The rest of the cast tend to fade into the background, but the assortment of groomsmen do ensure a few laughs (Aron Takahashi is a notable scene-stealer). Olivia Thirlby (Dredd) is charming and yet sorely underused in her bit-part supporting role, while The Big Bang Theory‘s Kaley Cuoco phones it in as a slightly more obnoxious version of Penny.
Direction & Tone
As the movie’s director and co-writer, Jeremy Garelick (The Break-Up) shows improvement on some of his past projects. The film still suffers from a lack of creativity though, tending to borrow elements from other wedding comedies at times (both Hitch & Wedding Crashers come to mind). There are moments where it tries to be too crude for laughs. Had Garelick cut out some of the more ridiculous gross-out scenes, the film would have possibly fared much better as a PG-13 affair.
- I apologise for coughing all the way through this review. I’ve recently contracted a terrible case of pun-silitis.
- The Wedding Ringer also finishes on one of the funniest easter eggs I’ve ever seen. So dumb, so simple… and yet it had me in stitches.
Overly silly, generic and yet, at times, surprisingly heart-warming. The Wedding Ringer is a movie that greatly benefits from the chemistry shared between its two leads: Josh Gad and Kevin Hart. There’s plenty of fun to be had here, but it’s also no comedy classic.