WEDDING CRASHERS stalwart graduates from the Vaughan-Wilson University of Dudehood do not shy away from presenting unassailable logic: “Tattoo on the lower back? Might as well be a bullseye.” The most popular comedy of 2005, the year’s 6th biggest hit, showed that while most moviegoers of good will saluted the year’s 22nd top earner Brokeback Mountain, it was also true that not everyone felt inclined to camp there. Hey, Ms. or Mr. Karen, if that sally at silly ruffles your easily plucked p.c. feathers, chances are you won’t go for the blissful barrage of bad taste barbs and R-rated riffs in this observantly obnoxious outing. A sense of humor is a terrible thing to waste. *
“You shut your mouth when you’re talking to me!”
Loyal buds (and dependable wingmen) for years, D.C. based divorce mediators ‘John Beckwith’ (Owen Wilson) and ‘Jeremy Grey’ (Vince Vaughan) sate their singlehood by crashing weddings, posing as relatives or friends of the betrothed in order to seduce available attendees. When a major ‘mission’ presents itself in the ceremony involving the eldest daughter of the U.S. Treasury Secretary (Christopher Walken), the boys bite off more than they can, well, chew isn’t quite right, when John goes gaga for the bride’s sweet-natured sister ‘Claire’ (Rachel McAdams) and Jeremy becomes entangled with third sister ‘Gloria’ (Isla Fisher), who’s a bit on the wilder side of loony. Except for Claire, the whole WASPish family and their circle are—true-to-Blue-blood tradition—out to a perfectly catered lunch. What to do? The Rule Book rules.
Absurdist romping, directed by David Dobkin, written by Steve Faber and Bob Fisher— allowing for a decent amount of improv from Vaughan and Wilson—like a lot of ‘concept’ comedies, eventually runs low on goofy gas in the last act, but its laid-back lacerating of decorum isn’t mean-spirited, and the cast is game on. Not every gag clicks, but many do, and the mirth-motivated, disarming players are fully committed. Wilson and Vaughan are razor sharp, McAdams a charmer (scoring a trifecta that year with The Family Stone and Red Eye), scene-stealing Fisher a delight. Like Fisher, Bradley Cooper got a big boost with this, acing ‘Sack Lodge’, McAdam’s jerkweed fiancé.
The $40,000,000 price tag was evaporated (like free “crab cakes“) by a global scoop racking $288,468,000. Then another $147,202,000 crashed in from disc sales.
Cameos come from Will Ferrell, Rebecca De Mornay and Dwight Yoakum. With Jane Seymour (upfront ‘Mrs. Cleary’), Keir O’Donnell (tortured brother ‘Todd’), Ellen Albertini Dow (‘Grandma’), Ron Canada, Henry Gibson, Jennifer Alden, Diora Baird, Tanaya Nicole, Rachel Sterling. Casting the lineup of lissome ladies must’ve been pure hell. 119 minutes/128 in the extended cut.
* Other 2005 larks that had wicked fun with the eternal mating conundrum: The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, The Family Stone, Must Love Dogs, The Upside Of Anger, The Weather Man, Shopgirl. Let’s not forget Transamerica.
Know Your Lore Dept: regards scoping strategic skin-dye selections, we refer to the immortal declaration from one of Blazing Saddles prominent ‘Johnsons’—“Now, who can argue with that?” Telecourses are available.