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The Wedding Ringer (2015)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 4/28/2015
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 4/13/2015
We've spoken before about the movie pitch and the specific process involved. The people in these meetings are very busy and don't have time for a long plot synopsis. Therefore, the mood or tone of the film must be communicated very succinctly. This is done by comparing the movie to other films using the "______ meets ______" format. Again, the point isn't that the movie is copying the stories or plots of these other movies, but that it has the same feel or is aimed as the same audience. However, there are movies where "______ meets ______" may just mean that a narrative is being reproduced. In fact, there could be a third _____ in there as well. That was certainly the feeling which I got while watching The Wedding Ringer.
Doug Harris (Josh Gad) is just two weeks away from fulfilling his dream of marrying Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), who is planning the wedding with the help of Edmundo (Ignacio Serricchio). The only problem is that Doug has no close friends and he's promised Gretchen that he will have a full wedding party of groomsmen and a best man. Edmundo learns of this and sends Doug to see Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart), who runs and agency which helps guys like Dough shine at their weddings by supplying fake friends who have fake backstories. At first, Jimmy is hesitant to take on the job, as Doug needs "The Golden Tux", which means that Jimmy would have to supply everything, but he eventually gives in. Thus begins a whirlwind of stress, as Jimmy takes on the persona of Doug's best friend (who doesn't exist), while he's also recruiting seven groomsmen. As Doug helps Jimmy perfect this ruse, he begins to realize just how lonely he's been.
Again, with many movies, the "______ meets ______" formula can be uncovered, but The Wedding Ringer doesn't seem to have any shame about its influences. Simply put, this is Hitch meetsI Love You, Man meets Wedding Crashers. Jimmy is an African-American man who runs an underground business -- he's basically an urban legend -- in which he helps lovelorn and often lonely men and he himself doesn't have time for a relationship = Hitch. Doug is a sort of dorky guy who focuses on work and his fiancee and realizes that he has no friends to represent his side in the wedding = I Love You, Man. Doug and Jimmy go to a wedding of complete strangers in order to rehearse their schtick and they wind up taking over the event = Wedding Crashers. The Wedding Ringer doesn't sort of resemble these other movies, it lifts whole ideas from them with seemingly no remorse.
Well, you know what they say, if you are going to steal, then steal from the best and The Wedding Ringer does steal from three crowd-pleasing movies, all of which were hits. However, it blends them together into a formula which isn't as user-friendly as one would expect. At times, it appears that not only does Director/Co-Writer Jeremy Garelick want to ape the movies mentioned above, but he wants to channel the Farrelly Brothers as he does so. The Wedding Ringer goes off in some wild directions involving sex and drugs which clash with some of the more middle-of-the-road elements of the movie. The groomsmen characters are completely bizarre and feel as if they were plucked from another movie all together. There is also some inconsistency with the script, as Gretchen is a seemingly benign character for the first half of the film, and then suddenly changes in the second half, as if the writers decided as the last minute to try and make her more then one-dimensional.
When a movie can't decide what it wants to be, it's difficult for an audience to decide how to receive it. First of all, I have to say that I was taken aback by just how unoriginal the movie is, and that even a casual movie fan will have most likely seen one of the movies which are represented here. Secondly, Josh Gad is one of those actors who is much better in a supporting role (see The Rocker) and he comes across as annoying here, especially when he sings. As one would hope, Kevin Hart is funny here and he's asked to carry the film. He shows a nice balance of wild, outrageous humor and some more clever stuff. But, he can't rescue a movie which is simply doing a pale impression of other movies. I laughed a few times during The Wedding Ringer, but I also waited for an original thought to come along. Spoiler alert: It didn't.
The Wedding Ringer made me wonder what's going on at my local mini-golf on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is sharp and clear, showing no notable grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good, most notably reds, and the image is never overly dark or bright. For a DVD, the level of detail is not bad and the depth is acceptable. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The music sounds very good, as it offers a nice deal of bass and fills the surround speakers. The stereo effects are nicely done, and show good separation. The surround sound effects come to life during the wedding sequences.
The Wedding Ringer DVD contains only two extra features. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Jeremy Garelick and Josh Gad. "Going to the Chapel of Love" (6 minutes) has the cast and Garelick sharing their own experiences with wedding disasters. This does include some on-set footage.
Review Copyright 2015 by Mike Long