Sunday, February 05, 2006

WEDDING CRASHERS

Owen Wilson Wedding Crashers Movie Directed by David Dobkin
Starring Owen Wilson
Reviewed by Byron Merritt


HESITANT THUMBS UP!

A HESITANT THUMBS UP FILM REVIEW RATING!

A lot of hype surrounded this film while it was in theaters and continued with its recent release onto DVD. I’ve lately halted when I hear resounding praise lavished on films with nary a single negative comment to be found. BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN was one such film that I enjoyed but didn’t live up to the brouhaha surrounding it.


And such was the case with WEDDING CRASHERS ...


Although pleasantly funny and entertaining (note the "thumbs up" rating I gave it for sheer entertainment), the film lost much of its lighthearted punch as the story bogged down in the drama surrounding its two main characters, John Beckwith (Owen Wilson, STARSKY AND HUTCH) and Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn, DODGEBALL).


The basic premise is about these two longtime friends who enjoy crashing as many weddings as possible. They have hundreds of rules that each of them follows ("Rule #1: Never leave a fellow crasher alone", etc) ...that is until John falls for a beautiful woman named Claire Cleary (Rachel McAdams, THE NOTEBOOK) and all bets are called off.


John and Jeremy’s friendship appears to be on the rocks as John falls harder and harder for Claire. But problems quickly arise for him. Claire is the daughter of Treasury Secretary William Cleary (Christopher Walken, THE PROPHECY), an authoritative man who wants his daughters to marry into families of wealth and power. The Cleary family is also pretty dysfunctional ("putting the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional"). They have a son, Todd (Keir O’Donnell, IN YOUR FACE), who wants nothing to do with the family’s politics and prefers painting evocative scenes in "his own blood." The Cleary mother, Kathleen (Jane Seymour, DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN), is sexually deprived and wants young men to "touch her surgically enhanced breasts."


John clearly has a lot of obstacles to overcome ...and not just within the Cleary family. Claire's long-term boyfriend, Zack Lodge (Bradley Cooper, ALIAS), wants to know who John and Jeremy are and how they became so close to the Cleary family so quickly.


As John’s love for Claire grows, Jeremy is dragged further away from his friend by the surrounding circumstances and by another Cleary daughter with serious psychological issues that he later finds endearing.
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As you can see, there’s a lot going on in this film. At two hours in length, it’s one of the more long-winded comedies I’ve seen.


Mixing drama, romance and humor is always a challenge, and director David Dobkin admirably tries to hold it all together, and on some levels he does, but the ending fell flat with no laughs and zero character growth (they just expand their wedding crasher community from two to four members).


I will say that seeing Jane Seymour in such a different role surprised me. She played the part of a bored politician’s wife extremely well. But Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn were just Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn; men who never grew up. Whenever they’re on-screen together, however, there were definitely some great comedic moments ("Oh. You didn’t hear. My brother had a diving accident and he’s retarded now").


But if you’re looking for a high quality comedy, this isn’t it. It is funny at times, but when compared to such masterpieces as THE BIG LEBOWSKI or O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU, it seriously pales.

Click here for the Wedding Crashers movie trailer!

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