Could Wedding Crashers be considered the film that helped introduce some new counter programming to the summer box office schedule? I didn't remember that it was released in the middle of July of 2005, released opposite Warner's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Not only did it make more than the Johnny Depp film, but it made over $200 million and finished as the sixth-highest making film of the year. Wedding Crashers was a film that featured significantly less gunfire and cheesy explosions than your typical blockbuster film, but since then, films like The Devil Wears Prada, The Break-Up and Mamma Mia! have been among several films released in the summer and have made a significant chunk of change. It's a quiet little profit made on a modest budget, so it's perfectly understandable.
Crashers was written by Steve Faber and Bob Fisher (Married With Children) and directed by David Dobkin (Fred Claus). Vaughn plays Jeremy, who, along with his friend John (Owen Wilson, The Royal Tenenbaums), are two men whose main passion is crashing weddings of all denominations, and bedding the willing women who attend the ceremony. They are charmers who ease into ceremonies so well that they even do bridal toastings, before leaving quickly and anonymously. They decide to crash the mother of all weddings; that of one of the daughters of powerful presidential cabinet member William Cleary (Christopher Walken, The Deer Hunter). Jeremy and John hook up with the other two daughters who are also part of the bridal party; Jeremy with Gloria (Isla Fisher, The Lookout), and John pines for Claire (Rachel McAdams, The Notebook). The problem in John's quest is that she's seeing Zachary (Bradley Cooper, Alias), a rough, abrasive type. Jeremy and John's charm gets them invited to the family compound, where they find out everything they wanted to know about the girls they're attempting to hook up with, and maybe they might find out something neither of them expected.
Recently I was watching Old School, and aside from the fact that it REALLY hasn't aged well, the one saving grace I gave it credit for was Vaughn's performance. I love it when Vaughn's rapid fire delivery is in full gear, and you've got to pay attention to everything he says. It's going to make the characters uneasy, insulted or maybe even hurt, but damned if it's not funny. And he's not even the star of this film really. In true co-star fashion, Wilson is his perfect complement in tone and style, and laughing at his work is easy. The supporting cast might have been slightly surprising at first glance, but they also work well with the material. This is the big screen marquee arrival for McAdams, Fisher and Cooper, and as the Cleary mother, Jane Seymour (Live and Let Die) was a curious choice at first, but she does great in her few scenes. Walken was also a strange choice, and in some scenes he seems to be doing a Christopher Walken accent, but he manages to hold his own.
It's amazing that with this type of cast, there's very little moon-shooting that's done. Dobkin took the additions the cast made to heart and they helped make a funny story funnier. None of the actors took and ran with things, and the underlying story of finding love in a slightly clichéd situation bears a warm heart. If there was a problem with the film, it's the length. Released theatrically at 119 minutes, along with an unrated 127 minute cut, both versions are long. The theatrical could have trimmed 10 minutes, and quite frankly the cameo by Will Ferrell (Semi-Pro) was completely unnecessary in character development. It's a chore to watch the unrated cut of the film the first time around, but it's definitely the most fun, and when it comes to Wedding Crashers Vaughn and Wilson bring the fun several times over.
So as I mentioned a minute ago, the theatrical and unrated cuts are available, and both versions use the VC-1 encode. While I take some personal pride in knowing that some of the location shots were done in my stomping grounds, facial detail in most of the shots is lacking. Blacks in the wedding tuxedos look good, though a lot of Maryland's Eastern Shore is missing background depth and detail that would present a three-dimensional look. There's very little to gain from seeing this in high definition compared to the standard definition disc. On a navigational point, you have to select the theatrical or unrated cut when you put the disc in, nothing seamless here unless you go in through the backdoor on the commentaries and change the audio option.
Both versions have a TrueHD 5.1 surround option which is largely wasted on this production. There's no subwoofer activity, save for two moments (when Zach tackles Jeremy at the football game, and when Jeremy returns the favor later). Directional activity is weak, and speaker panning is done, albeit poorly. The only thing left is the dialogue on the center channel, and it's weak. Even with a dialogue-driven film like this, I was cranking the volume up high in many scenes. Considering that this film is three years old, I was expecting Wedding Crashers to look and sound better than it does.
Everything from the unrated cut of the film is brought over to the Blu-ray, starting with two commentaries. Wilson and Vaughn handle one track on the unrated edition, and it's a little on the boring side. They recall their time on the production, along with any inspirations for additional dialogue in a given scene. They're surprised by the scenes put into the unrated cut and talk about off-topic things like places to live and college football, and spend chunks of time watching the film. Overall it wasn't worth listening to. The second track with Dobkin (on the theatrical cut) is much more informative, covering what appealed to him about the script and what he wanted to accomplish in telling the story. He goes into some shot breakdown discussion occasionally and talks about his process on set. He's much more active than Vaughn and Wilson, and the track is much more informative. The remaining extras are boring though. You've got "Event Planning" (11:35), which talks about the production and set design for the numerous weddings shot for the montage sequence. Then there's "Rules of Wedding Crashing" (7:27), which is nothing more than a highlight reel for the film. Four deleted scenes (7:49) with optional commentary are next, and watching Vaughn and Wilson sing a karaoke of "99 Red Balloons" is funny. A music video (3:07) is next, along with a teaser (1:26) and trailer (2:32).
Wedding Crashers features hilarious turns by Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, whose performances that remind us why we pay to go see them. Surprisingly, the story is funny and holds up well, and despite its runtime is a comic touchstone. Technically, the audio and video aren't worth upgrading for, but if you've never pulled the trigger on buying it, or never seen the movie whatsoever, it's absolutely worth seeing and picking up for enjoyment's sake.