A strong concept, a pitch perfect cast and a naughty R-rated sense of humour cover “Wedding Crashers” like a sweet and delicious coat of frosting – making it on the surface seem like a real winner. A few bites into it however and one quickly realises its made up of the same old generic and overcooked cake batter that every other lacklustre rom-com has at its centre. In many ways its a triumph of deceptive marketing – advertised as very much a male comedy ala “Old School” or “Road Trip”, it starts out in a deliberate display of macho hedonism. Everything builds towards a crescendo in a brilliantly conceived montage sequence which every hetero male will adore – our two macho leads boozing, partying and having a ton of sex with hot chicks galore.
Then suddenly, ten minutes in, it completely changes track and the rest of the film plays out very much like a female romantic comedy (ala “Hitch”) but with the odd flash of tits and slightly more risque albeit generic humour to stop the blokes being bored. In some ways it can be said to be a R-rated comedy designed to cater as both a gross-out comedy for the guys and a chick flick for the girls. Catering a film to a wider audience however in almost every case means softening the material up and ‘Wedding’ is certainly guilty of that. Despite the odd side flash of bosom and dirty jokes with a more visual element than you’d expect (eg. the handjob scene), the comedy is very sitcom-esque and is more lightly humourous than actual laugh-out loud funny. Guys will have a few laughs but this certainly won’t have the rewatch value of the likes of “Old School” or the “Pie” movies.
Similarly women will enjoy but not particularly warm to the very cliched romantic subplots which only work due to the actor’s chemistry and their natural knack for this material than any of their actions or dialogue. David Dobkin’s directing keeps the pace flowing quite fast, never letting one stop for a break which helps cover up a lot of the flaws ranging from comedic subplots that go nowhere (the slutty mother, the gay stalker son) to the very conventional situations regarding the Wilson/McAdams blossoming romance. Only towards the end, especially in the films interminably drawn out last half hour, does the comedy or pacing truly stutter – even an extended cameo by Will Ferrell fails to light anything more than a spark.
Whilst the material may not be up to snuff, its players certainly are. We’ve seen them playing cocky bastards many a time before and both Wilson and Vaughn play up to that, but also get to show off a softer side than we’re used to seeing. Whilst neither is going to be a serious dramatic actor anytime soon, they do handle themselves well throughout. What’s surprising here is their female counterparts are on almost equal footing – McAdams is a great fresh-faced romantic actress with a good knack for comedy and Fisher truly shines with her over the top insane caricature.
Despite both the plot and characters quite literally get sillier and stupider as every minute passes, strong supporting work from the likes of Walken and Seymour hold the mid-section of the film together although the still stunning actress definitely should’ve had more scenes as she steals each one she’s in. The production people ranging from the designers, costumers, and the choice of music all lend strong work to make this a very glossy and appealing looking comedy. Its just a shame the material and those responsible for the story’s creativity behind the scenes aren’t nearly as strong as those whose efforts are actually up on screen. Now that would’ve been a wedding to celebrate instead of this hollow quickie.