Wedding Crashers

on July 15, 2005 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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Likeable Owen Wilson sails blithely through a potentially brilliant comedy that crashes soon after comedic liftoff. Wilson and Vince Vaughn are John and Jeremy, the wedding crashers of the title, two mediation lawyers whose hobby is infiltrating weddings, posing as guests, in order to meet girls. That's the good part of the movie, with the initially clever premise letting Wilson and Vaughn do their funny thing as they con their way into various diverse weddings, devouring hors d'oeuvres, participating in family dramas and hitting on comely guests.

Their scam works until they come upon the Cleary ceremony, involving the daughter of a government big-shot (Christopher Walken). At those nuptials, smooth operator John discovers he's developed feelings for the bride's sister, Claire (Rachel McAdams), while his cohort becomes involved with another sister (Isla Fisher), who's more than a little off her rocker.

"Wedding Crashers" hasn't been thought through and is handicapped by David Dobkin's heavy-handed, shapeless direction. The film gets bogged down in the dull Cleary family proceedings, which are replete with various clich├ęd and/or mundane characters, including a horny mother, a troubled gay brother and, as the villain of the piece, Claire's nasty boyfriend, offered up in a truly awful performance by Bradley Cooper (TV's "Alias"). Even Walken, one of Hollywood's most reliably loopy character actors, is barely given anything wacky to do.

Thank heaven for Wilson, today's Cary Grant, who manages to make all his scenes interesting, simply because his laid-back persona is so appealingly rendered on screen. Impressively, he keeps his comedic dignity intact even as the film becomes increasingly noisy and frantic before arriving at its predictable and sappy happy ending. There's one other terrific performance in the film -- a delightful Isla Fisher -- but as in a mostly mediocre buffet, you have to hunt hard for the movie's tasty, memorable bits. Starring Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams and Christopher Walken. Directed by David Dobkin. Written by Steve Faber & Bob Fisher. Produced by Peter Abrams, Robert L. Levy and Andrew Panay. A New Line release. Comedy. Rated R for sexual content/nudity and language. Running time: 118 min

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