The Wedding Ringer (Jeremy Garelick, 2015)
You may not have even heard of The Wedding Ringer in Australia, but don’t fret. You’re not missing much. Just your run-of-the-mill bromance, with some mild bestiality thrown in for kicks. If it weren’t for Josh Gad, I would have bypassed it altogether.
After delivering a kick-arse, laugh-out-loud performance in Broadway’s The Book of Mormon, and cracking us up as Olaf in Disney’s Frozen, Josh Gad finally gets his first lead role on film. Here he plays Doug Harris, a socially awkward, friendless guy who is engaged to hottie blonde thang, Gretchen Palmer (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting). Unfortunately, ten days out from the wedding Doug still doesn’t have a best man. Nor does he have another seven groomsmen, because his wife is one of those crazy people who has EIGHT bridesmaids (what is with that?! Calm the hell down!) Cue the services of Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart), professional best man. Jimmy is reeled in to play Doug’s long-time friend and military priest, ‘Bic Mitcham’ and inevitably, shenanigans ensue. Such as a dog giving Doug a blow-job at his bachelor’s party, and Gretchen’s grandmother getting set on fire. Standard stuff.
There are obvious problems with the premise. Can there really be that many men in the one city who can’t find a single person to be their best man? And what happens if someone is a guest at two of the weddings? Business exposed. Maybe I was reading too much into it. Nonetheless, the dilemma of not having a best man was dealt with better in I Love You Man which was funnier, sweeter, and far less crass.
To be fair, The Wedding Ringer could have been much, much worse. It was better than I expected, and I did laugh a few times – though that was more at Gad’s comic ability than at Jeremy Garelick and Jay Lavender’s screenplay. I will hand it to them, the Goonies line was hilarious (unfortunately it was in the trailer; fortunately I’d forgotten) as well as the Lost reference at the end. Much of the dialogue was cringe-worthy, and the bachelor party scene was just awful. Immature guys will probably find it hilarious though. You could see the plot developments coming a mile off – it was simply way too obvious.
There’s not much in the way of female characters and The Wedding Ringer is clearly aimed at male audiences. I was pleasantly surprised (but not uber-thrilled) with how they handled Gretchen’s character i.e. not a total bitch, but certainly not perfect either. Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting is a smart choice for the role given her popular-with-the-guys character on The Big Bang Theory – male viewers will hopefully find it slightly harder to write her off as the Bridezilla. Unfortunately, in the remaining supporting roles, the girls merely act as eye-candy and are shown to be of little substance otherwise.
Thankfully, Josh Gad and Kevin Hart go some way to saving this film with their comic flair and although the film as a whole isn’t great, it’s never dull. It’s possibly a goer for a film with the boys (if guys do film nights?) However, it’s probably aimed more towards the the ‘bros-before-hoes’ type of guy who likes beating his chest and crapping on about how life is so much better without women sucking the fun out of everything. If you’re one of those jerks, you probably have a lot of spare time on your hands what with the girlfriend you don’t have, so knock yourself out. Otherwise, don’t waste your time.