The Wedding Ringer

January is typically a dead zone when it comes to big-screen releases, with the studios dumping their duds in theaters in the hopes of finding an audience amid the comparatively barren cinematic landscape of winter. The Wedding Ringer is, unfortunately, just such a dud. And I say that as someone who enjoys Kevin Hart.
Our Rating

Genre(s): Comedy

Director: Jeremy Garelick

Actors: Kevin Hart, Josh Gad, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Olivia Thirlby, Jorge Garcia, Jenifer Lewis, Ken Howard, Cloris Leachman, Alan Ritchson

Year: 2015

MPAA Rating: R

Country: USA

There’s so much wrong with this movie that I didn’t know where to begin with the review. So, for the sake of simplicity, here are the Top 5 reasons I thought The Wedding Ringer was stinkybad.

1. The entire central conceit is not believable.

In the film, Josh Gad plays Doug, a likeable guy and a successful attorney… who has no guy friends. None. Not a colleague, not a pal from high school, not a neighbor, not a cousin, not the spouse or boyfriend of a female friend or relative, no one. But he’s about to get married to Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) and desperately needs a best man – not to mention seven groomsmen. Enter Jimmy (Hart), a professional best man, who hires himself out to sad sacks like Doug. Jimmy’s great at his job – delivering heartfelt wedding speeches, brah-ing it up with the groom, you name it – so Doug enlists his services. For $50K. Without blinking an eye.

Thing is, not for a second did I believe that Doug would have nary a single dude in his life who might want to help him out. Does he live in a vacuum? On a remote island? In outer space? Does he have no interactions with any male human at all? The reason for his dilemma is chalked up to “moving around a lot as a kid” and being a workaholic, but c’mon. When the wedding day arrives, the reception is filled with literally hundreds of guests – does he know NONE of them? Are they all his fiancée’s friends and family???

2. There is a profound lack of chemistry between its stars.

Not between Hart and Gad, not between Gad and Hart’s rag-tag group of hired groomsmen, and definitely none at all between Gad and Cuoco-Sweeting. In fact, many of the relationships in the film have mean, adversarial undertones, which makes it hard to care about the characters involved.

3. It’s narratively bi-polar.

Somewhere, buried beneath the juvenile humor and tiresome gags and drawn-out sequences that do nothing to advance the plot (hello, canine fellatio! hi there, football game!), is a movie about loneliness. The audience is given faint glimpses of THAT movie, which would have been so much better than this one, only to have them evaporate faster than you can say “softball to the groin!” There’s no point in shoving fleeting moments of heart into what’s otherwise a pretty heartless undertaking.

4. Setting an elderly woman on fire, and having her burned severely, is considered funny.

That should give you an idea about the level of “fun” to be had in this film.

5. They lifted the score from Rudy.

By far the most blasphemous (to me) thing about this entire project is its appropriation of composer Jerry Goldsmith’s beautiful music from the 1993 underdog film, which is slapped on the aforementioned unfunny, lame, goes-on-way-too-long football game. Rudy is one of my favorite films of all time, and I actually audibly gasped in disgust when its score started playing. Not cool, filmmakers, not cool.

For that alone, it earned my scorn. But the fact that it was a really bad film to boot didn’t help it, either. Save your money and skip this one completely.


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