The Wedding Ringer

The Wedding Ringer

Director: Jeremy Garelick

Writers: Jeremy Garelick, Jay Lavender

Cast: Josh Gad, Kevin Hart, Affion Crockett, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Jorge Garcia, Dan Gill, Corey Holcomb, Ken Howard, Colin Kane, Cloris Leachman, Jenifer Lewis, Alan Ritchson, Mimi Rogers, Aaron Takahashi, Olivia Thirlby, Whitney Cummings, Ignacio Serricchio, Nicky Whelan, Joe Namath, John Riggins, Ed 'Too Tall' Jones, Nikki Leigh

Synopsis: Two weeks shy of his wedding, a socially awkward guy enters into a charade by hiring the owner of a company that provides best men for grooms in need.

MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, language throughout, some drug use and brief graphic nudity.

Stevennix2001's Rating:

6.3 / 10

Pros:

- Josh Gad and Kevin Hart have great chemistry together

- Kevin Hart is funny

- Josh Gad does a great job playing the straight man of the duo.

- The jokes were funny

- Well paced

- Kevin Hart and Olivia Thirlby display some great chemistry together; in spite of the limited screen time they have together, and forced romance between them.

Cons:


- Inconsistent character portrayal with Gretchen Palmer

- All the supporting characters are generic stereotypes

- The film is very predictable and cliched

- The romance between Alison and Jimmy feels contrived and rushed, with little screen time to develop it.

- Forced cliched ending that nearly ruins the film.

Oh baby your so close...but no cigar....

On the surface, you know this is a stupid comedy. The trailers flat out tell you that "The Wedding Ringer" is a stupid comedy. Kevin Hart is primarily known for stupid comedies, but when you watch the movie itself, you can't help but sense a stupid comedy that has the soul of a great one lurking inside. Sure, the film is funny at times, and Kevin Hart does a wonderful job playing the quick witted smart a**.

However, the potential this film showed could've been something up there along the lines of other great comedies like "Trading Places", "Groundhog Day" and etc. However, the movie falls short around it's third act that it nearly destroys it's own potential.

The movie is about a socially awkward man named Doug Harris (Josh Gad), who is about to marry the girl of his dreams. With only two weeks before the big day, everything seems all but set for this occasion, with only one minor detail needing to be addressed; Doug still hasn't found a best man or any groomsmen. After asking almost every single person he's ever grown up with, he finds himself without a best man for his own wedding.

Oh what's a poor guy to do? I guess the only sane thing to do would be to tell his fiancé about it, but nope. This is a stupid Hollywood comedy, so of course he's going to lie his a** off at first. After consulting with his wife's gay wedding planner, he manages to get in touch with a mysterious man that might be able to help.

Enter Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart). For years, Jimmy has run a smooth operation, where lonely guys pay him money to pretend to be their best man on their wedding days. For the right price, he even throws in birthday calls and funeral appearances too, in order to create the facade that his clients actually have friends.

With only two weeks before the wedding, Jimmy is reluctant to help Doug because what he's asking for is impossible. Doug has already told his fiancé that he has a best man and seven groomsmen. And if Jimmy were to turn him down now, then he would have to face the proverbial music. However, like all comedies of this ilk, Jimmy inevitably agrees to help him.

With a limited amount of time, Jimmy manages to recruit an ensemble cast of misfits and weirdos to pretend to be Doug's closest friends, so they can pull off the biggest con of their lives. Sure, there's a few close calls here and there, but everything seems to run smoothly until the big day.

Like all movies of this ilk, you know at some point his fiancé will find out one way or another. You know that Jimmy and Doug are going to become best friends. Doug's soon to be sister in law, Alison Palmer (Olivia Thirlby), starts to get curious about his best man, which makes it fairly obvious that Jimmy and Alison like each other; hence you know at some point they're going to hook up.

However, not all comedies are meant to be unpredictable. Sometimes, it's more about the journey rather than the destination. And if you can enjoy the characters for who they are, while getting a few laughs along the way, then that's usually a good sign for any comedy.

Throughout most of the movie, Josh Gad and Kevin Hart spend quite a bit of time together, as they develop something of a bromance with each other. As we soon learn, both of them are outsiders in society. Doug moved around so much when we was growing up that he rarely ever felt the need to make any friends. He's never done anything crazy in his life, or even went on a guy trip with his buddies like most men do.

As for Jimmy, he started his "best man" services at first to help make someone happy, and somehow he got the lucrative idea that maybe he could make a career out of pretending to be other guys' best friend, However, it soon became a business for him at some point. He stopped caring about the clients he was helping, and saw them more as business associates. As Doug put it during the film, "Your everyone's friend for a price, but nobody's when it matters."

Through a series of elaborate events, the two become kindred spirits, as they both learn that maybe what they both needed all along was a good friend. Perhaps, Doug just needed a pal to show him how to good time, so he could live his life to the fullest. As for Jimmy, maybe all he needed was a good friend to show him how empty his life truly was before.

Kevin Hart and Josh Gad share a lot of great chemistry together, as their friendship is essentially the heart and soul of the movie. Sure, the film still falls into all the stereotypical liar revealed bulls*** cliches, but it's still worth watching just to see these two together.

Josh Gad does a tremendous job playing the socially awkward straight man of the story, as he guides us into this world of zany over the top eccentric characters. Kevin Hart kills it as the fast talking smart a** of the duo, as it works to create some fairly hilarious moments. Granted, the supporting characters could've been handled better, as most of them are either given little to no personalities, or they're simply generic stereotypes. Apart from that, "The Wedding Ringer" works fairly well.

Sadly, it falls apart around the third act. For those of you wanting to avoid spoilers, then I would highly suggest you skip the rest of this review. However, if you don't mind spoilers, or you've already seen this film before, then please read on at your own discretion.

During one scene, Doug's fiancé almost figures out Jimmy's cover, which implies that she's not that dumb of a character. Yet in the third act of the film, she flat out tells Jimmy what her real feelings are about Doug. In truth, she's only marrying him for his money and financial security he could provide her. She does this without knowing Doug is coincidentally eavesdropping in the bathroom behind her, so he hears everything.

Take in mind at this point in the film, she doesn't know about Doug's elaborate facade, yet she's openly telling a guy that she thinks is his best friend that she doesn't really love him? And on their wedding day too? Granted, I know this is just a stupid comedy, but the logic behind it doesn't make sense.

In an earlier scene, they made her character out to be quite inquisitive and smart enough to almost figure out Doug's secret, yet she's portrayed in a later scene telling Jimmy she doesn't love him. But why would she do that? Hasn't it occurred to her that maybe Jimmy might turn around and tell Doug about what she said? And wouldn't that ruin her plans on marrying a rich schmuck that could take care of her? How could you make a character go from being possibly smart to being that dumb in a later scene? It doesn't add up, and makes for some fairly inconsistent character writing.

As for the contrived romance between Alison and Jimmy, it shows promise to some degree. Kevin Hart and Olivia Thirlby do seem to have a strong rapport together on screen that makes their relationship a bit charming. Sadly, it's never fully explored outside of a few scenes, which makes the big reveal at the end all the more underwhelming.

And to add more insult to injury, they get together under the most contrived way possible. Immediately after Doug admits he's lying about Jimmy being his best friend, and how he doesn't want to get married anymore, they begin to walk out before everyone tries to kill them. Alison stops them to say, "I knew you guys were faking", as she was suspicious of them from the start.

Before our heroes make their exit, Jimmy asks Alison out on a date. Take in mind, Alison's sister just got dumped by Doug on her wedding day, AND Alison is the maid of honor. Granted, we're never shown how close Alison and her sister, Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), truly are as sisters, but still. The fact that she ends up agreeing to go out with him, the same damn day everyone in her family finds out about Doug's lie, is kind of absurd. It literally comes out of nowhere, and it almost seems like the writers didn't know what to do at that point, so they picked the most contrived and cliché route as humanly possible.

It's such a shame too because this movie had all the makings of being a great buddy comedy. Sadly, the film comes close, but it falls apart at the end. If this film had tweaked the script a bit more, and fleshed out some of the characters, then this might have been a great comedy to watch. But at present value? It's worth a rental on Netflix, but I wouldn't bother seeing this in theaters. To quote a Weird Al Yankovic song, "Oh baby your close, but no cigar."

This video represents how i feel about this movie (Warning: Contains adult situations, brief nudity, and cartoon violence. Parental discretion is advised)

© 2015 Steven Escareno

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