The Wedding Ringer, 2015
Directed by Jeremy Garelick
Starring Kevin Hart, Josh Gad, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Olivia Thirlby, Alan Ritchson, Josh Peck, Cloris Leachman and Jorge Garcia
Two weeks shy of his wedding, a socially awkward guy enters into a charade by hiring the owner of a company that provides best men for grooms in need.
Working as a cross between Wedding Crashers and I Love You, Man, The Wedding Ringer is the pure definition of ‘average comedy’. It aims for crude, crass and gross-out humour but ends up repetitive, bland and pretty uninspiring. A few laughs are to be had here and there, but there really isn’t much in The Wedding Ringer to write home about.
Frozen‘s Josh Gad is a chubby, shy nerd who has no friends, which becomes an issue when he’s set to wed the beautiful but demanding Gretchen as it means he doesn’t have a groom party. In an effort to save face, he hires Jimmy (Kevin Hart) to pose as his best man as well as a group of reprobates to be his groomsman. But can they pull of this tricky task with out ‘the girl who is too hot for him’ finding out he’s been lying?
And thus, hilarity ensues.
The problem with The Wedding Ringer however is that the hilarity does not end up ensuing. It desperately tries to get a laugh and usually fails at each turn. And when the script runs out of steam, it falls back onto tried and tested methods like Josh Gad being a chubby dork or Kevin Hart doing his Chris Tucker-like screeching. And when that doesn’t work (which happens a lot), they set an old lady on fire, or fall through a glass table, or have a car chase, or have a wacky dance sequence. It feels so desperate to the point where The Wedding Ringer is practically on its knees begging for you to laugh at the silly antics on screen.
That’s not to say The Wedding Ringer is entirely laugh free, but there are handful of laughs to be found. Much like The Interview, The Wedding Ringer simply isn’t funny enough. And just as quickly as it began, Kevin Hart’s schtick has grown old and tiresome. The Wedding Ringer is one of the lowest openings where Hart is in a lead role, down $9 million from Think Like a Man Too and shockingly $20 million down from Ride Along this time last year. One can argue that the unforseen domination of American Sniper could have affected the downturn, but The Wedding Ringer is proof that Hart’s style of comedy can only last for so long. Like Zach Galifianakis, his box office reliance is starting to wear thin.
Josh Gad isn’t much better and he very much falls into that Galifianakis and early Jonah Hill mould of being ‘a bit chubby and screaming a lot’. When in doubt, just shout your dialogue because that should generate some laughs, right? Granted, the pair are not given much to work with as the basic script from Jay Lavender and director Jeremy Garelick falters at every possibility. The bromance between Gad and Hart has its moments, but it’s all too safe and has been done a dozen times over by much better movies (the aforementioned Wedding Crashers and I Love You, Man, for example).
And poor old Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, who has the backing of a massively successful sitcom and can only muster a couple of scenes here with zero in the way of actual character. She is just there to be “the hot bride” and suffers from a poor script that portrays her in one light and then completely switches her around just because it makes the story easier to tell. She can be put on the poster all the studio want, but she has nothing to do in this movie.
Following Horrible Bosses 2, The Interview, Mortdecai and Dumb and Dumber To, The Wedding Ringer is just another entry in the string of middling-to-bad comedy movies we’ve been offered up as of late. One can only hope that the likes of Get Hard (also starring Hart) and Pitch Perfect 2 can bring us back from the brink, but it’s not looking good. The Wedding Ringer is passable at best, but nothing special or worth rushing out to see.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.