The Wedding Ringer is a kind of terrible fun. The film has a direct-to-DVD feel that isn’t as enjoyable as The Wedding Singer but it’s also not as torturous as seeing your enemy get married. Ultimately, it’s a high-octane series of silly shenanigans that help redeem some of the film’s flatter moments.
The movie is directed by Jeremy Garelick, who doubles as the script writer along with Jay Lavender. It is a comedy that is supposed to have heart but it really only has Hart, Kevin Hart that is. He stars as Jimmy Callahan or Bic Mitcham AKA a best man-for-hire. He’s a quick talking hustler who will pretend to be a man’s best friend and keep up the pretence during a guy’s nuptials (for a fee). It requires a suspension of disbelief as to why a man would go through with such a convoluted scam rather than just come clean to the woman he loves and simply confess that he doesn’t have anyone close enough for the role.
The “poor slob” in this story is Doug Harris (Josh Gad), a charming and wealthy lawyer who is getting hitched to a bridezilla (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting). He is doing this because he cannot believe a gorgeous girl like this one would want to marry him. The themes are not overly original as some aspects seemed to be borrowed from I Love You, Man and Hitch. The problem with The Wedding Ringer is that the jokes are slapstick, clichéd and often miss the mark. It also doesn’t help that these are often milked for far too long (for example: see when granny catches fire, which isn’t even funny!)
Harris requires a “golden tux” treatment. This isn’t just a best-man for hire but seven groomsmen to go with his attractive yet vacuous bride’s friends. Unfortunately, Harris had spent his formative years moving around and studying and his parents are both dead. He has no one so Callahan assembles a group of guys and attempts to make these oddballs look authentic. This includes taking photos of the troupe scuba diving (at an aquarium) and running marathons (by showing up at the finish line of one).
The overall feel is obnoxious and crass and at times not unlike a second-rate Hangover. But despite this both Gad and Hart make the most of the awful material. They also share a noticeable on-screen chemistry. It’s one of the nicer things in this film.
The Wedding Ringer is not original and is chock full of stereotypes. The hijinks and shtick of these bad boys occasionally will leave a sour taste in your mouth. But this fast-paced and in cohesive comedy also proves to be one raucous distraction for the end of the holidays. It’s not a golden marriage but its few redeeming features will prevent you from demanding a full trial separation.
Review score: ONE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
The Wedding Ringer opens in cinemas on January 22.