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Wedding Crashers (2005)

Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 12/30/2008

All Ratings out of
Movie: 1/2
Audio: 1/2
Extras: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/14/2009

Frank Sinatra used to run with a crew known at "The Rat Pack", which contained the likes of Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. In the 80s, there was a group popular actors, such as Molly Ringwald, Rob Lowe, Ally Sheedy, and Emilio Estevez, which became known as "The Brat Pack". Today, there is a group of male actors who predominantly make movies aimed at men there age who have come to be known as "The Frat Pack". The group includes Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, and Luke Wilson (and arguably Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd, and Jack Black). This group appear in each other's films. There seems to be a trend where two or three of the actors will star in a movie and one of the others will make an off-beat cameo in the film. Wedding Crashers falls squarely into this description.

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn star in Wedding Crashers as John Beckwith and Jeremy Grey, two Washington, D.C. area mediators. Their hobby is the "crash" weddings during "wedding season". They arrive using fake names, charm the congregation, and then seduce unsuspecting women. Following a successful season, John is ready for a break, but Jeremy convinces him that they must attend the wedding of the daughter of Secretary of the Treasury William Cleary (Christopher Walken). John reluctantly agrees, but perks up when they arrive at the wedding and he sees the bride's sister, Claire (Rachel McAdams). Likewise, Jeremy is attracted to the other sister, Gloria (Isla Fisher). At the reception, John approaches Claire and finds her charming -- he's immediately smitten. Meanwhile, Jeremy discovers that Gloria is a clingy psycho. The two guys, who are, again, using fake names, are invited back to the Cleary's home. Determined to get to know Claire better, John insists that they go, despite the fact that Claire has a boyfriend (Bradley Cooper). Will John be able to express his feelings for Claire while maintaining his cover? And more importantly, will Jeremy survive his encounters with Gloria?

Say what you will about the so-called "Frat Pack", but most of their films have interesting ideas (for example, Old School and Anchorman) and Wedding Crashers is no exception. The thought of two guys who sneak into weddings strictly to eat and meet women is a deceptively simple one. This movie could have gone in several different directions, but writers Steve Faber & Bob Fisher and Director David Dobkin have structured 2/3 of the film very creatively. We meet John and Jeremy, get a taste of how they pull their scams through a montage, and then we watch them fake their way through the Cleary wedding. From their, we see how their plans can backfire when they actually get emotionally involved with their "target".

The other great thing about Wedding Crashers is that it takes advantage of this situation to create some very funny situations. The tightly-wound, hyper-active Vaughn plays very well with the laid-back Wilson. We watch Vaughn deliver these rapid-fire diatribes, while Wilson seems to absorb everything going on around him. These moments are great and there are some hilarious lines here, many of which sound improvised. Another nice thing about Wedding Crashers is that the usually super-cool Vaughn is asked to play the fool while Wilson is the straight-man. Vaughn is put into some kooky and awkward situations here, and seeing someone who is usually a hip and in control guy (again, see Old School) totally at the mercy of something out of his grasp is quite amusing.

The problem with Wedding Crashers is the final act. Once John and Jeremy leave the Cleary house, the movie shifts in tone and I've never talked to anyone who disagrees with the fact that the movie loses momentum at this point. Up until the end of act 2, Wedding Crashers is a comedy classic, but the last third changes in tone and all of the wind is sucked out of the film. Despite a very funny cameo by one of the other members of "The Frat Pack", the movie delivers very few laughs in the last segment. It's still great to see these actors together, but one can't help but wish that the movie had simply ended earlier.

There's no denying the fact that Wedding Crashers is a funny movie. There's a section in the middle of this film which delivers more laughs per scene than most comedies produce in their entire running time. This memory is important to hold onto as the film's finale doesn't really bring the funny. However, Wedding Crashers is still a satisfying watch and it gives "motorboating" a whole new meaning.

Wedding Crashers takes over the reception on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains a VC-1 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 13 Mbps. Despite some noticeable grain at times and a surprisingly low bitrate, this is a nice looking transfer. The image is sharp and clear, showing great colors. The image has a nice brightness to it. The depth is excellent and there's a nice level of detail. The Disc offers a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 1.7 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. This is a nice track which offers good stereo effects which show impressive stereo separation and detail. The in-film music sounds great and is very powerful. The surround sound effects aren't overwhelming, but they arrive at appropriate times. The bass effects are minimal, but this is a dialogue-driven comedy.

The Wedding Crashers Blu-ray Disc contains a handful of extras. We begin with two AUDIO COMMENTARIES. The first features Director David Dobkin. Dobkin speaks at length throughout the film, given us information about the actors and the locations. He also makes many comments about the shaping of the story and how a lot of work went into shaping the characters and making them likable. The second commentary has Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. Given the fact that actors can often get distracted during commentaries, this is a pretty good talk. They discuss their characters and the atmosphere on the set, but they also mention locations and point out lines which were ad-libbed. "Event Planning" (12 minutes) examines the hectic pace at which the filmmakers had to work in order to create the montage of weddings. This piece is comprised mostly of on-set footage showing the costumes and set design which went into each of the five weddings. We get comments from the director and the actual wedding planners who were brought in. In "The Rules of Wedding Crashing" (7 minutes), Wilson and Vaughn describe the mindset of their characters and the way in which they go about crashing weddings. The Disc contains four DELETED SCENES which run about 8 minutes and can be viewed with optional commentary by Dobkin. It's clear to see why these moments were cut from an already long movie and 99 Red Balloons isn't as fun as you'd think it would be. The extras are rounded out by two TRAILERS for the film and a MUSIC VIDEO for the song "Circus" by The Sights.

Review Copyright 2009 by Mike Long