The Wedding Ringer (2015)

weddingringer_2015_poster
The Wedding Ringer (2015)
  • Time: 101 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Romance
  • Director: Jeremy Garelick
  • Cast: Kevin Hart, Josh Gad, Affion Crockett

Storyline:

Doug Harris (Josh Gad) is a lovable but socially awkward groom-to-be with a problem: he has no best man. With less than two weeks to go until he marries the girl of his dreams (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), Doug is referred to Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart), owner and CEO of Best Man, Inc., a company that provides flattering best men for socially challenged guys in need. What ensues is a hilarious wedding charade as they try to pull off the big con, and an unexpected budding bromance between Doug and his fake best man Jimmy.

4 reviews

  • Doug, a socially inept guy, played by Josh Gad (Frozen), takes desperate measures and hires Jimmy Callahan, played by Kevin Hart (Ride Along) to provide best man duties two weeks before his wedding, to pull off the ‘Golden Tux’. Just like the last line in the film, I’ll admit, before watching The Wedding Ringer I was thinking ‘I have a bad feeling’, however this was anything but a plane crash (Lost joke).

    So if you plan on going to see The Wedding Ringer, be prepared for an awful story, there are so many plot holes. For example how gullible does the wife-to-be have to be that she is fooled by a group of people she’s never heard or met before getting engaged, then all of a sudden they turn up with all these amazing stories she’s somehow never heard before. It’s an illogical story that could only ever be pulled of if your fiance, her family and your own are really, incredibly stupid.The Wedding Ringer Pic

    What saves The Wedding Ringer from being a disaster is the hilarious comedy, there are plenty of laugh out loud moments, that will have the whole cinema chuckling away. They are…
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  • The word skeptical comes to my mind when I think of Kevin Hart movies. When and actor in this day and age is averaging four films a year, you can’t really expect quality. Josh Gad on the other hand is a truly untested leading actor, known by most as either Olaf from Frozen or as Elder Cunningham from the original cast of broadway comedy The Book of Mormon. With neither actor giving much reason to go and see Jeremy Garelick’s The Wedding Ringer, how does this apparent comedy actually fare.

    The Wedding Ringer follows Doug Harris (Gad) as he is about to marry the girl of his dreams (played by Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting). The main issues Doug has is that he has no best man, nor any groomsmen with which to carry out the proceedings. Enter Jimmy Callahan (Hart), a man employed by grooms to be their best man and learn everything in order to not only make a great experience for his clients, but to deliver the perfect best man speech. When Jimmy realises that he has to provide all seven groomsmen in just two weeks, he understands the challenge ahead of him and brings in an unlikely group of misfits to dil the roles…

    As always I will start with a primary positive for the film. The pairing of Kevin Hart and Josh Gad is actually really fun to watch. It comes across very naturally and they clearly had fun in doing a lot of these scenes. The moments where Jimmy is learning about Doug’s past are among the highlights. They also use Gad’s broadway experience throughout the film through dancing, singing (though silly) and timing and all round star quality in multiple scenes. As I say, his comedic timing is great though some notes will be taken later. Another positive is that this film never thinks of itself as anything more than what it is, which is a light laughs comedy for late-teen boys looking for an easy laugh for an hour or two. The story does give some surprisingly tender moments, all through the great chemistry between Gad and Hart. Kevin Hart actually has some great monologue material throughout this film, especially when relating to why he does his job. All in all the chemistry is fun, light and very believable…

    Right so that’s the positive! Now on to the rest:

    The main problem I have with Kevin Hart is the exact same problem I have with him in every other film he’s in. He is just Kevin Hart being Kevin Hart. In fairness to him, there has been some very good acting from him, including in this film, but there’s never any real character. He just plays the same old same old every time. Don’t get me wrong though, there are times he is very funny here but this film’s script, like every other Hart film, is tailor made for him without giving him anything different to try. More lightly race related gags, more super high pitched, fast paced talking and just more Kevin Hart being Kevin Hart. Another problem with this film is Josh Gad’s mannerisms: While his comedic timing is great and he is frequently funny, his facial expressions, vocal phrasing and timing just comes across as a wannabe Jonah Hill. While Hill rarely puts a foot wrong with his timing, it’s also his own quirky thing. Gad clearly tries to match up with that style of nerdy awkwardness mixed with what seems like over-confidence. Hill does this well and I’ll admit Gad does too, but it just would have been nicer to see him burst on the leading role scene with his own flavour and style. Disappointing.

    Comedy itself is a real mixed bag. Where some scenes are outright hilarious (both a reverse-speaking party trick and a groomsmen audition scene comes to mind) but there are many scenes that stick to what I call the ‘frat-boy-formula’. You see it in Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler films:

    ‘Let’s set an old woman on fire! Let’s make casually racist remarks, have old guys beat up young guys by doing things that young guys are stereotyped for as well as crude jokes about dogs licking balls!’…

    Why you ask? Because it’s worked before… for some reason. So many films have this crude humour with using violence to get that awkward laugh from people. The bachelor party scene literally looks, feels and plays out exactly like every other bachelor party scene in every other comedy movie from the last 10 years. Lots of booze, lots of stripper gags and penis jokes. I will say that one plot turn regarding the main stripper at this party is actually quite funny and original but to be honest, when everything else in that scene is tasteless guff, it’s a lot easier to spot slightly different ideas. This film does too much and does it too similarly to too many other films.

    Overall The Wedding Ringer is a serious mixed bag of good and bad comedy. Where some scenes actually hit the mark exactly how they should and to hilarious effect, there are an equal if not larger number of crude frat boy humour scenes with sex and violence used to awkwardly force a laugh. Overall this film is ok with a great leading pair, though they don’t go beyond anything that we’ve seen already. A surprisingly good, though samey performance from Hart is enough to have me recommend this for fans of his style of comedy, but nothing else really sells it for me.

    Jimmy Callahan may be the best best man, but this is an average average film.

    5.5/10

  • Same Kevin Hart movie, same old Kevin Hart. That’s the vibe I got from watching The Wedding Ringer (regrettably, my first review of anything released in 2015). As usual, Hart’s a fast talker, Mr. improv if you will. But he hasn’t been likable since the original Think Like A Man and now his life as an actor has reached its torrid expiration date. Overexposure perhaps? Maybe. But it’s not all his fault. “Ringer” is bad with or without him. It’s crass, classless, offensive, and mostly unfunny. I mean you do laugh a few times only to leave the theater slapping yourself for doing so. Granted, this is the type of lame comedy that critics refer to as “January Junk”. It might be one step above of an Adam Sandler vehicle (that ain’t saying much) but still belongs in the yard with other collective, scrap heapings.

    Written by the guy who penned 2006’s The Break Up (Jay Lavender) and featuring a bachelor party scene where its characters dodge 90 mile-an-hour fastballs shot from a batting cage pitching machine (remind me as to how this is fun?), The Wedding Ringer focuses on future husband Doug Harris (The Internship’s Josh Gad). He’s a little out of his league in the looks department. However, he’s well off financially and he’s snagged a gorgeous fiancee in Gretchen Palmer (played by Kaley-Cuoco Sweeting). Here’s the problem though: He doesn’t have any friends, just long lost acquaintances. Sadly, they either don’t have time to attend his wedding or just flat out don’t want to. The solution: Hire a best man guru in Jimmy Callahan (played by Kevin Hart who also goes by the alias, “Bic Mitchum”). He provides best man services (along with finding a hefty amount of groomsmen) for a price. After it’s all over, everyone goes their separate ways and Bic’s fictional persona I guess, dies three months later. In retrospect, this is a business transaction where Hart’s Bic is to pose as Doug’s long time bud. The two break the rules by actually forming a small bond. Hart’s performance however (or maybe it’s the script), suggests that he’s not the type of dude you’d want to be friends with. He’s kind of an uppity a-hole to be honest.

    By the way, did I mention that the acting in “Ringer” is mediocre to awful? Well the groomsmen are comprised of dudes I’ve never even heard of (unknowns in the form of Jorge Garcia, Dan Gill, and Colin Kane to name three). They’re the types of nincompoops who reminded me of Leo Dicaprio’s stock broker gang in The Wolf of Wall Street. The difference is that those twerps in Scorsese’s 2013 odyssey could actually act where as the guys in “Ringer” were probably picked off the street by director Jeremy Garelick. As for Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Garelick does her no favors by promoting an underdeveloped role via her Penny character in The Big Bang Theory (you know the hot vixen who’s been burned in jock guy relationships and instead decides to get with the nerd because he’s well, safe). She plays her role completely straight and not only that, she fades in and out of the proceedings to the point where it’s almost transparent. And as expected, Kaley’s Gretchen may be smoking hot but Gad’s Doug Harris is way too good for her anyway. Speaking of Gad, he probably gives the best performance out of everybody. There’s a certain vulnerability that he brings. His character is likable and an all around good guy. As you watch “Ringer”, you wonder why he would actually stoop down a level to yearn to be friends with Hart’s Callahan. Sadly, Kevin Hart is playing Kevin Hart once again here and he mistakes comedic timing for acting like a self-impudent jerk (I don’t know, what do you call a dude who charges $20,000 a wedding to be a pseudo best man? Talk about robbing someone blind).

    Moving right along. Here are things to look out for if you actually want to take in a viewing of “Ringer” (let’s hope I saved you from that discretion): There’s the grandmother of Kaley Cuoco’s bride played by 88 year-old Cloris Leachman. She’s does the cliched thing by being the old timer who says dirty words (Leachman blurts out the p-word just to warn you). She also displays the obligatory Cloris Leachman look (befuddled is the term I would use), has maybe four lines total, and gets set on fire by accident (isn’t that precious). She’s definitely a long way from The Last Picture Show (what a shame). Another thing to look out for is a scene where Josh Gad’s character gets his genitals licked and then bitten by a dog (at his bachelor party). It’s the type of gross out scene that’s been done before. It’s tired, it’s not really funny and we’ve all witnessed the fake, prosthetic penis in movies past tense (think A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas as an example and you’ll know what I’m talking about). Finally, there’s the sequence where Josh’s fake groomsmen take on the bride’s father and his friends in a gridiron football game. This is really nauseating stuff and it’s freaking boring. The old timer football team is comprised of cameos including Joe Namath (making weird gyrations with his body and spewing nasty insults) and Ed “Too Tall” Jones. Why these guys agreed to appear in this thing is anyone’s guess. Maybe their million dollar houses are being foreclosed upon and they needed the extra paycheck. There’s one explanation I can think of. Oh and it was an insult to hear certain musical themes from other movies being filtered in during the muddy football tryst. I’m not that offended that they included The Karate Kid’s “You’re The Best Around”. I’m more ticked off that they actually blared the climatic film score from one of my favorite sports movies of all time, Rudy. Sacrilege I tell you. Pure sacrilege.

    In conclusion, it’s clear that The Wedding Ringer kind of rips off Wedding Crashers (everything from the awkward dinner table scene to the mild twist of an ending to the fake sort of banality to the romantic subplot between Hart and Kaley’s character’s sister that never goes anywhere). It also channels the whole Hitch thing where Josh Gad is in the Kevin James role and Kevin Hart is in the Will Smith role (and no I’m not stereotyping). What’s ultimately despairing is that this film sometimes finds a soft center side between its characters along with peaking into the altitude of their proposed friendship. Too bad things are under minded with unpleasant gross out humor and forced physical comedy that seems just for show. Truth be told, this “Ringer” is a fraudulent substitute and totally not in a good way.

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  • There is no such thing as a successful template in the movies. Using the same formula does not always produce the same results. What works for one film does not work for another. So here we have The Wedding Ringer, which shares many of the same components as Get Hard – Kevin Hart as one half of an odd couple pairing, a questionably comical scene involving fellatio, women shunted to the sidelines, stereotypical supporting characters, screenwriters making their feature film debuts – but is funnier and more satisfying by miles.

    Doug (Josh Gad) is the introverted schlub who has, against all odds, landed Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), the type of girl who would never look twice at a guy like him. They’re due to be married in 10 days, but Doug finds himself in a bit of a dilemma – he has no best man. Cue Jimmy Callahan (Hart), a professional best man for hire who will stand by your side during the ceremony and deliver a lump-in-the-throat-inducing best man speech. Doug’s needs require more than what Jimmy’s available packages have to offer. In fact, he tasks Jimmy with pulling off the mythical “Golden Tux,” a full-service selection that not only involves Jimmy posing as Bic Mitchell, Doug’s fictitious best friend who has been overseas serving as a U.S. military minister, but finding seven guys to masquerade as Doug’s groomsmen.

    Hearty laughs ensue as Jimmy wrangles a random cast of characters to fill out Doug’s wedding party. Amongst them: redneck ex-con Fitz (Colin Kane), stuttering slab of beefcake Kip (Alan Ritchson), three-testicled Asian Kendo (Aaron Takahashi), and shoulder-popping Bronstein (Dan Gill). “It looks like the entire cast of Goonies grew up and became rapists,” Doug notes upon meeting them for the first time. Jimmy, meanwhile, meets Doug’s future in-laws during a family brunch that starts off well enough before chaos takes over and Grandma (Cloris Leachman) goes up in flames. “How do you like your grandma?” Gretchen’s dad (Ken Howard) asks at the hospital. “Medium? Well-done?”

    The Wedding Ringer’s high point may be Jimmy and Doug taking to the dance floor at a wedding. Hart and Gad break out a slew of dance moves, ranging from the Charleston to the Dougie, and perform them with unbridled exuberance. The duo make an engaging pair – Gad withstands the vortex of Hart’s rat-a-tat energy with aplomb, and it is a nice change of pace to have Hart play a character that isn’t trying to compensate for or deprecate his small stature. The endlessly energetic comedian still gets the laughs, but this time from Jimmy’s confident moves as he skillfully dodges anything that could potentially give the game away.

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