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THE WEDDING RINGER
February 18, 2015
Planning a wedding is usually a stressful experience which naturally calls for humorous situations, hence the plethora of nuptials-set films. The Wedding Ringer does not deviate from a familiar narrative structure but the ridiculous premise – a best man for hire – gives way for ridiculous jokes and great chemistry between the two leads. Kevin Hart and Josh Gad are perfect as best man Jimmy Callahan and groom Doug Harris respectively: their chemistry makes their bromance realistic and heartfelt, as well as ensuring the jokes hit their marks.
Jimmy is unable to find a friend he can count on to be his best man and his wedding planner Edmundo puts him through to ‘The Best Man Inc.’ From thereon a series of gags cover-up Doug’s impossible lie. The film treats the cover-up as a con movie, putting Jimmy as an experienced best man but he must achieve the impossible and come up with 6 other groomsmen to achieve “The Golden Tux” of cons. The outcome is less Ocean’s Eleven (2001) and more Dumb and Dumber (1994) because the groomsmen are totally inept at pretending to be normal though that’s what makes them hilarious. Thankfully each of them are unique and memorable.
Kevin’s bride Gretchen is played by The Big Bang Theory‘s Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting and having her paired with nerdy Josh Gad conjures up likenesses to the TV show which can be distracting, though Gretchen lacks any of the charm Cuoco-Sweeting’s TV persona is popular for. This works well for the overall plot, as the focus is on Doug rather than the stressed bride cliché which has been done before. She’s joined by Olivia Thirlby (Dredd) as her much brighter sister Allison, her grandmother (Cloris Leachman) and her disapproving father (Ken Howard) each making Jimmy and Doug’s lives much harder.
As mentioned there’s an overlap with previous marriage films, certainly owing a lot to I Love You Man (2009), but The Wedding Ringer does well to stand out from the crowd. Jimmy’s business allows him to take advantage of his natural talent for impersonations, acting and of course the bridesmaids. Doug on the other hand is lovably goofy, but he’s not a hopeless loner either, as a manager his work/social life balance is pretty poor, cutting him off from making strong friendships. Both Jimmy and Doug are committed to keeping their relationship strictly professional until the con is over, even if they warm to each other.
The Wedding Ringer is ultimately hilarious with most jokes being laugh-out-loud funny, although a joke concerning a dog really should have been cut from the film. There isn’t much originality to the plot (the structure is very predictable) but it does make you laugh and certainly doesn’t feel like a waste of time. It may not become a classic but it’s worth an evening of escapism.
The Wedding Ringer is released in UK cinemas on February 20th