Momentarily, I thought Wedding Crashers may just break the run of rubbish produced by the “Frat Pack” – think Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Starsky & Hutch and Old School. For in attempting a true romantic comedy in the second act instead of the more usual boys comedy with a touch of romance, this is a new direction. Sadly, the mixture of frat pack comedy and romcom doesn’t quite work.
Wilson and Vaughn play John and Jeremy, friends since puberty, now working together as divorce lawyers who hate the institution of marriage and use the annual wedding season to prey upon bridesmaids and single wedding guests, all of whom are hopeful they will one day be centre-stage at their own marriage celebration. With a wonderful montage early in the film, showing a succession of entrances, endearments, pick-up lines, and then, well, entrances, the stage is set for these guys to take the inevitable fall. Coming in the form of Rachel McAdams and Isla Fisher, you can’t really blame them.
With Christopher Walken, Jane Seymour, Henry Gibson, Rebecca DeMornay and others making cameo appearances, this film is certainly not light on for acting talent. Coupled with the immense charm of Wilson and McAdams, all the onscreen ingredients are present, but it’s the script that lets it down. Surprisingly it is the romcom component that doesn’t quite work, particularly that between Vaughn and Fisher. Their ‘romance’ seems contrived and absurd, and their coupling a bad choice by the scriptwriters. Perhaps this would have been stronger with Vaughn and Fisher providing only a naughty comic edge to the lovey-dovey Wilson-McAdams sequences?
That being said, Wilson and McAdams seem born to bounce ideas off each other, and their relationship is completely understandable. McAdams has a bright smile and a comic touch, that brings her performance exactly the right tone. I have a lot of time for Owen Wilson, in spite of his association with many of the above-listed frat pack failures, and he again succeeds in what is a pretty limited role. He is allowed barely any time for real character development, has an all too rapid ‘character arc’ thrust upon him, and yet he still manages to pull off an amusing and enjoyable performance.
This isn’t groundbreaking, but the attempt at showing a slightly different side is worth applauding, as anything has to be better than Anchorman. Uneven, with some poor choices for the characters, but enjoyable nonetheless, it is eminently watchable Friday-night DVD fare.Rating: