In 10 Words or Less
False advertising, but a pretty good movie
Loves: Owen Wilson, Christopher Walken, comedies
Likes: Vince Vaughn, weddings
Dislikes: Dumb comedies
Hates: Being disappointed
Based on the trailer, you'd think this was a wild comedy set in the world of weddings, where sex and humor dance to cheesy novelty songs, fueled by free drinks and pass-around appetizers. Instead, the movie is a short amount of comedic set-up, followed by a lengthy romantic plot and a couple of comedic interludes. That's not to say the movie isn't a good time. It is. It's just not the good time you'd guess it would be when you see the trailer.
The basic story revolves around John (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy (Vince Vaughn), a pair of arbitrators whose hobby is crashing weddings in order to have fun and meet girls, since they are often drunk, emotional and desperate for relationships. The guys live this life, and live it well, based on a set of rules that have been handed down by the legendary Chazz, who pioneered the art of wooing bridesmaids.
The first 14 minutes of the movie set up their hedonistic world well, showing them work their magic at a number of weddings, with the help of some particularly artful nudity. It all changes though when John has a change of heart following an off-night. Instead of living the wedding crasher lifestyle, he begins to think about something real. Jeremy doesn't quite see it that way, and thinks he has the perfect way to snap his pal out of his funk: the wedding of the year.
Suffice to say, as it is in all romantic comedies, John meets Claire, the girl of his dreams (Rachel McAdams), but can't seal the deal, in large part because the girl's got a guy (the villainous Bradley Cooper) and a mistrusting dad (Christopher Walken). On the other hand, Jeremy is in tight with her sister Gloria (a very sexy and funny Isla Fisher), which gives John the in to spend the weekend with the family and try to get in good with Claire. Of course, hilarity ensues.
There are some movie duos that just work perfectly, thanks to the chemistry between them. Surprisingly, Vaughn and Wilson haven't been one of those duos, until getting together for this film, where they became a natural team. It's really no surprise that once they got together that they worked so well as a duo, considering that Wilson seems to have great chemistry with everyone he hooks up with.
Vaughn brings energy to the pairing, along with an ability to deliver any line believably, no matter how bizarre, while Wilson delivers serious likeability and a unique leading-man sensibility. Together, they bring both sides of this movie together, but they can't make it all work. Walken, Jane Seymour (as Claire's horny mom) and Claire's oddly artistic brother Todd (Keir O'Donnell) are all wasted in their roles, mainly because the cast is so big. There's only so much time to go around, and the main characters deservedly get the most of it. It's a shame though that Walken doesn't get more to do.
In the end, the movie might leave fans of wild comedies cold, thanks to the importance placed on the romance between John and Claire, but bits like Gloria's increasingly sexual nature and Todd's bizarre behavior help keep the film light and goofy throughout the rather long two-hour runtime. Unfortunately, the film never recaptures the energy and fun of the first 14 minutes, but maintains a balance that helps it become a more well-rounded film than one might expect.
Part of New Line's Platinum Series, Wedding Crashers is offered in widescreen and full-frame editions of R-rated and unrated Uncorked versions, for four choices in all. The discs are packed in standard keepcases that are packed with promotional inserts, and feature animated anamorphic widescreen main menus. The main menu, styled after wedding photos and albums, is one of the most annoying seen recently, thanks to a lengthy pre-menu animation that runs every time.
The menu features options to play the film (which leads to a choice of movie version: uncorked or theatrical), view special features, set-up languages and select scenes. The scene-selection menus have still previews and titles for each chapter. Audio options include Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 tracks, while subtitles are available in English and Spanish, along with closed captioning.
The anamorphic widescreen video on this disc is excellent, with bright color and a high level of detail. It hits its peak on the open seas, where the blue skies and light scenes are simply beautiful, but the rest of the movie is great as well. There's not a bit of digital noise or error, nor is there any dirt or damage.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is solid, but as a straightforward comedy, the movie doesn't give it much to do. Some music enhancement is handled by the surround speakers, while the majority of the sound pumps through the center channel, with clear, distortion-free dialogue. There's nothing negative here, but nothing that stands out either.
The two big extras are a pair of feature-length audio commentaries. The first track puts Vaughn and Wilson behind the mics and lets them cut loose in a very unstructured "ride-along," similar to the DVD chats between John Carpenter and Kurt Russell. While the two funnymen catch up and talk about the movie and plenty of other topics (including college football), the audience gets to listen in. There are some dead spots, but its pretty good overall, considering its lack of connection to the film.
The other track belongs to Dobkin, who brings his attention to detail to his commentary. There's a ton of info shared in this chat, but naturally, as he's on his own, it's not as entertaining as the boys' commentary. This is probably the best of both worlds for a comedy like this, as you can pick the direction you want to go, whether you want to be entertained or informed about the movie.
Two featurettes are included on this disc, starting with "Event Planning." Essentially, it's a making-of look behind the scenes that focuses first on how they put together the film's weddings, before moving on to the acting and directing. At 11:30, it's just about the right length where it's informative and entertaining, thanks to a large amount of on-set footage, but neither fluffy nor overdone.
"The Rules" feels like a promotional piece they might run on Comedy Central, as Vaughn and Wilson sit in front of some movie posters and talk about the "Rules of Wedding Crashing." I expected more from this seven-minute sit-down with the two stars, but outside of some cute graphic illustrations of the rules, it's rather staid.
Following up on the same ideas, "The Rules of Wedding Crashing" consists of 24 pages of text, listing the rules mentioned in the film. Somewhere around page 10 I lost interest, as it just felt like more of the same, but kept going. You're unlikely to do the same.
The DVD extras wrap up with some trailers and a track listing/promo for the film's soundtrack that allows you to jump to several of the songs in the film, as well as a music video for "Circus" by The Sights. It's nothing special.
Pop the disc into a DVD-ROM drive and a few more extras are available, including New Line's always excellent script-to-screen viewer, a crashers kit, which allows you to print culturally-relevant name tags, hero photos and wedding speeches and check out the rules and balloon animal instructions, and a quail-shooting game that's actually pretty fun. There are also links to Chazz and Todd's web sites, which are cute.
The Bottom Line
From the trailer and my knowledge of Vaughn and Wilson, I expected a wild, raunchy comedy along the lines of Old School, but instead got a romantic comedy, with a few touches of absurd humor. That's not a bad thing, but based on the expectations, it feels a bit disappointing. The DVD delivers the film with very nice quality, and a handful of nice extras, though the package falls a bit short of "Platinum Series." Wedding Crashers is a dirty comedy for couples or a date movie for the slightly perverted. There's a bit of sex and violence for guys, to go with the relationships for women, and everyone should have had a good time when the credits roll.
Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.Check out 1106 - A Moment in Fictional Time or his convention blog called Conning Fellow
*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.