" She came at me in sections. More curves than a scenic railway. "
— Fred Astaire, The Bandwagon

MRQE Top Critic

Almost Famous

Director Cameron Crowe extends his autobiographical homage to 70s rock —Risë Keller (DVD review...)

Patrick Fugit is Almost Famous

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If you’ve seen Old School, The Wedding Singer, and Animal House, then you’ve already seen this movie. Wedding Crashers attempts to take the buddy-movie concept from Old School, putting the characters in a semi-touching film about finding true love at weddings, (The Wedding Singer), all the while incorporating the same jokes that the jovial gross-out sex comedy genre has been driving into the ground since Animal House.

But even though it is completely lacking originality, the film does present some laugh-out-loud jokes that Vince Vaughn was born to bring us.

Where’s Ben Stiller?

Two sleazy bachelors infiltrate random weddings to get laid
Two sleazy bachelors infiltrate random weddings to get laid

Vaughn (Dodgeball, Old School) may be one of the best comedic actors we have today. He is definitely up there with Jack Black and Will Ferrell, who have both been recently put on the A-list of comedy actors. Although Vaughn has absolutely no range — he has played the same type since Swingers — he still has the ability to make us laugh, even when the jokes aren’t really that funny.

Vaughn’s buddy in this one is Owen Wilson (The Life Aquatic, Zoolander), an impressive writer and improvisational actor. Co-writing and starring in two comedies with legendary auteur Wes Anderson, his sense of humor is distinct and subtle, which Crashers has no real place for. The humor demanded here is raunchy and depraved, something that Wilson’s dry style shouldn’t be forced into performing.

Directing these two is David Dobkin, who also worked with Wilson in Shanghai Knights, a film that I think we’d all like to forget about. Although Dobkin’s camera techniques aren’t really creative, his talents really shine when directing the actors. His camera catches lots of the characters’ thoughts, especially all of Vaughn’s well served facial expressions. (His type of comedy relies on funny dialogue and reactions, hence, facial expressions.)

Old School Wedding Animal House

Divorce mediators John and Jeremy (Wilson and Vaughn) are wedding crashers; the two sleazy bachelors infiltrate random weddings to get laid. We watch them prey upon horny bridesmaids with a hysterical montage set to “Shout,” which illustrates how they lie and cheat their way into the beds of these love-starved girls. Although the two characters are comical, the context of their intentions show us that they are, in fact, despicable human beings. Yet, despite their horrific actions, the writers demand that we root for them.

John eventually falls head-over-heels for Claire (Rachel McAdams), while attending her sister’s wedding. The screenwriter implies that his infatuation with her is love at first sight, which immediately isn’t believable for me. Every time I saw her, actor Cesar Romero (the Joker from the 1966 Batman TV Show) would flash through my mind. Check out her gut-wrenching grin and you’ll see what I mean. Unfortunately, John learns that Claire already has a boyfriend of three and half years. Does that stop him? Hell no. Not only does he crash weddings, but he also wrecks homes.

As the wedding progresses, Jeremy meets Gloria, Claire’s other sister, who turns out to be a raving psycho and develops a stalker-like obsession for him. She invites the two guys to come to their swanky ocean compound for the weekend. John agrees so he can seduce Claire, while Jeremy protests because he’s worried about Gloria. Then surprise surprise, we secretly learn that the Claire’s boyfriend has been cheating on her, so we can now write him off. (Helllllllo Old School and Wedding Singer.)

So they go to the compound, and as expected, a lot of crazy, American Pie-like things happen to them. John consistently tries to hook up with Claire, and he eventually does, while Jeremy is repeatedly accosted by Gloria. A large portion of Vaughn’s scenes had my audience rolling in hysterical laughter, though the scenes with Wilson were so offensive, it distracted me from enjoying some of the humor.

Humping Legs

This film is jam packed with unlikable characters. First, the two protagonists, like I said, are essentially horny dirt-bags that seduce women just to get their rocks off. They don’t have many redeeming qualities, definitely not enough for me to care about them. Then we have the two love objects, Claire and Gloria. They are both annoying and crazy in their own ways, and I couldn’t help asking myself why these guys, after getting so many women, would choose to pursue these two animals over all the others. The two relationships play out very sophomorically, which is more irritating than entertaining.

My biggest problem with the film was when John finally swindles Claire into making out with him on the beach. Earlier, we learned her boyfriend was cheating on her and we are meant to not care now that she is cheating on him. But she didn’t know that he cheated on her, so that makes her just as disgraceful. Truth is, the soft-hearted-girl-engaged-to-wrong-guy mythology that we’re supposed to accept doesn’t work.

The jokes, overall, were okay. They were nothing special, new, or groundbreaking, just crude. Most of them wouldn’t even be funny if it weren’t for Vaughn’s charismatic persona. But by the end, Wilson’s forced-sentiment finale drags you down, rather than having you leave the theater on a high note.

Though it does bring some laughs, I was more annoyed and bored than entertained.