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Published July 15th, 2005 | by Paul Greenwood

Wedding Crashers Review

Classification: 15 Director: David Dobkin Rating: 4/5

John and Jeremy (Wilson and Vaughn) are best friends whose summertime hobby is turning up uninvited at strangers’ weddings, for the purposes of bagging free drink, free food and free bridesmaids. So slick is their patented method of pretending to be a distant relation of someone that everyone seems to think they know, that they can inveigle themselves into whatever celebration is taking place, be it Jewish, Irish or Chinese. After a record breaking season, they sit back to bask in the glory of doing what they do while they’re still young. The sudden realisation that, well, they’re not actually all that young anymore, prompts them to start thinking about reevaluating their lifestyle. But the prospect of just one more bash is too good to turn down, particularly as it’s the wedding of the daughter of William Cleary (Walken), the man tipped by many to be the next president.

The boys’ prime targets turn out to be Cleary’s other daughters, Claire and Gloria (McAdams and Fisher). After making some good first impressions, they manage to get invited back to the Clearys’ island for the rest of the weekend, and this is where the fun really starts. John thinks he’s falling for Claire (despite her having a boyfriend) while Jeremy is desperate to extricate himself from the “stage five clinger” that is Gloria. Over the course of a couple of days, and between dinners, football games and quail hunts, John tries to tell Claire how he feels, while Jeremy begins slowly to warm to Gloria’s charms. But just how long can John and Jeremy keep their secret?

Laugh? I was beginning to think I’d forgotten how after some of the dismal attempts at comedy of late. Wedding Crashers has provided me with a timely reminder, because it’s the funniest film of the last year. There’s no reliance on big set pieces, just scene after hilarious scene that come so thick and fast during a sustained mid-section that breathing may become a difficulty. And it’s the variety of the laughs that impress as well – bawdy dinner table shenanigans sit alongside snappy one-liners and perfectly timed cutaways or moments that are created by the sheer brilliance of the players.

Vaughn has been on uneven form recently – when he’s being effortlessly cool (Dodgeball) he’s an absolute delight to watch, but when he mugs (the unwatchable Be Cool) the results aren’t pretty. Thankfully, he’s more charm than smarm here and his chemistry with Wilson suggests that the two could be the ideal pairing out of the whole Stiller-Wilson-Vaughn-Ferrell pack. McAdams is thoroughly winsome while Fisher has a lot of fun as a bunny boiling sexpot. It should be a criminal offence to underuse Christopher Walken in a movie, so Dobkin can count himself lucky to be getting away with a warning here, as the great man is given just about enough to do.

Wedding Crashers is far from perfect mind you, with some very lazy writing being the main culprit. Subplots are introduced and then quickly abandoned, including one potential firecracker of a situation involving John and Cleary’s predatory, new-breasted wife (Seymour). Not to mention the thoroughly overused stereotypes of the foul mouthed granny, the alcoholic mother and the boorish Nazi boyfriend. The brother would have worked fine if he was just gay, but he’s portrayed as gay and degenerate and this is a misstep. There’s also a distinct sag in the third act, as we’re forced to endure the various obstacles that might get in the way of a happy ending, but for a good hour in the middle there, it’s as funny as funny can be.

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