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Review ‘The Wedding Ringer’ From The Editor


Who would you ask to be your best man? Seems like a simple question, but those who have a difficult time coming up with the answer will get a number of uncomfortable laughs out of The Wedding Ringer — a silly but sporadically hysterical polar-opposites comedy that scampers over its roughest patches, disrupts its predictability with some well-timed off-color jokes, and coasts on the chemistry between an energetic Kevin Hart and a shlumpy Josh Gad.

Doug Harris (Josh Gad) is a loveable but socially awkward groom-to-be with a problem: he has no best man. With less than two weeks to go until he marries the girl of his dreams (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), Doug is referred to Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart), owner and CEO of Best Man, Inc., a company that provides flattering best men for socially challenged guys in need. What ensues is a hilarious wedding charade as they try to pull off the big con, and an unexpected budding bromance between Doug and his fake best man Jimmy.

“The Wedding Ringer” borrows a lot of ideas from other movies such as “Wedding Crashers” and “Hitch” but it does have a bit more. It does bring up (with humor) the very real foible that a lot of men come across, which is the lack of male friends in their lives. Doug’s reasons, his parents were always moving around when he was growing up, and then after they died he took over their business give us an idea as to why no real male friends exist in his life.

When Jimmy asks Doug why he loves Gretchen his answer is pretty vague. The truth is that she is the first pretty woman who ever paid attention to him, but does this amount to love? He never mentions anything about her that tells us he knows her, appreciates the quirks that make her who she is, or in fact anything about her except her looks.

When Jimmy asks Doug why he loves Gretchen his answer is pretty vague. The truth is that she is the first pretty woman who ever paid attention to him, but does this amount to love? He never mentions anything about her that tells us he knows her, appreciates the quirks that make her who she is, or in fact anything about her except her looks.

Try to swallow this one. It’s a little difficult. But after passing out during a cake testing, Doug is informed that there’s a “professional” who might be able to assist in his friendless situation. Jimmy Callahan (Hart) is a fast-talking improvisor who rents himself out to grooms in need of the perfect best man. He’ll deliver the finest toast. He’ll entertain the wedding guests. Just don’t expect him to become your best friend. For Callahan, it’s all business, and Doug needs Jimmy’s top package – The Golden Tux, which includes a full week of services, at least seven groomsmen, and a comedic misadventure the two will never forget.

This brings us to the main problem with this film, which is the lack of depth to many of the characters. Gretchen is so cardboard that she could have been played by any actress, and it would not have mattered. She is a cliché in pumps. The bands of grooms are so under-developed it is just sad. We never get to know them beyond the small things that one would read in a script (one has a stutter, one is fat, one is a rapist just out of prison and the list goes on).

Moving on to the family, Gretchen’s father, Ed Palmer, Ken Howard, is a big hulking guy who thinks that virility is based on brute strength and football. Cloris Leachman, who plays Grandma Palmer, has only one line before she incinerates in a hail of fire (set off by accident at the family dinner).

Oh, on the topic of Gad, don’t take the family to Wedding Ringer because it stars the guy who lends his voice to Olaf from Frozen. This comedy is R-rated, and doesn’t shy away from sex, language and violence. The film’s edgy humor is better for it, but know what you are getting before you buy.

In addition, there is a scene at the bachelor party with a dog and peanut butter which is not only gross and unnecessary, but completely ridiculous. One has to ask if this was put in here simply for the last joke at the end of the film, or merely to ensure an adult audience.

As to the performances of the two male leads, Kevin Hart is simply charming, although the script writers have him spout off too many acronyms, which does become annoying. Josh Gad is likeable as the geeky groom, and he and Hart have a good chemistry together. As a buddy picture, if you put aside the implausibility’s, this works, but as a memorable piece of film it does not.

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