July 26, 2005

Wedding Crashers

Warning: This post doesn’t contain any (OK, maybe a very minor one) spoilers, but it’s more about me than it is about the movie.

There’s a reason this movie is getting decent reviews all over the place, even though people are saying it’s not a very good movie. That reason is: everyone needs a laugh.

I like Vince Vaughn. I recognize that Dodgeball and Old School are not mentally stimulating. But, thankyouverymuch, I get plenty of mental stimulation in my daily life.

If I lack mental challenges, I can flip to the second half of “6 Not So Easy Pieces” or dive into yet another technical manual or some craziness like that. There’s plenty out there.

The question is, how the heck do I un-stimulate my brain? And I’m sure I’m not the only one facing this problem. Let’s be real, everyday life fills your head with a boatload of stuff you just don’t want in there. It happens twice as fast if you’re watching FOX News, plus they’re removing some stuff you actually needed.

The antidote, for me, is friends and laughter. Buddies.

I realize Vince Vaughn plays the same character over and over again. But, dammit, I like that character. And I know Owen Wilson probably isn’t acting at all, but dammit, Vince Vaughn needs someone to play off.

Wedding Crashers is a buddy film. If you’ve never had a buddy, you won’t get this film. I’ve had/got a number of buddies, so I get it. You want complaints about the plot? You’re not going to get them here. I couldn’t care less about the plot — this is about stupid situations that buddies get into. This is about the look your buddy gives you when he can’t believe what just happened.

OK, I see I’m not going to get out of this review without telling you something about the actual film.

Here’s a synopsis: Vaughn and Wilson are wedding crashers. They drop in on weddings to enjoy the food and talk girls into bed. And they’re good at it, partly because the follow the code passed down to them from a mysterious predecessor. But it really works because they have each other’s back. They pull each other into stupid situations and pull each other out. In short, they’re buddies. The success such a film does not really come from saving the girl or winning the big game. It comes from one guy putting up with getting repeatedly slammed hard into the ground just because he promised his buddy he’d help him out for a cause that makes little or no sense.

I’ve been both the guy that has the crazy idea and convinces his buddy to join in and the guy who somehow goes along with it. Those spontaneous moments are some of the most memorable.

Our two protagonists charm their way through the video collage at the beginning of the film before the thin plot kicks in: there’s one more big wedding to crash for the season. You already know what’s coming. One is going to get in too deep and then the movie will be a mix of humorous moments and sappy seriousness.

Is there much that is new and exciting in this film? No, not really. There are some memorable scenes, but most of this stuff has been done before. But it’s just a movie, and there are a number of laugh out loud moments that were distracting enough that I didn’t care about the far-too-loud guy in the back who appears to never have seen a “man is suddenly faced with a homosexual admirer” gag.

Again, forget the lack of plot. There’s enough enthusiasm in this film that the thin characters are strangely believable. Rachel McAdams seems like she should have her mind made up fairly early on in the film, and yet I didn’t care. She’s a convincing object of Owen Wilson’s interest. Jane Seymour’s character is funny, and then she’s sort of dropped from the film. But there’s other funny stuff to take her place (I think there have got to be some deleted scenes there for the DVD). The villain is only somewhat funny, and his violent streak is a downer (although there is precedent in movies like Animal House.)

In a number of ways this film is better than Dodgeball. The buddy film is a better medium for him than the “group of lovable losers” film. And much of the humor is crude. But at least it’s not lazy in its crudeness. Vaughn’s style is frenetic, and it will carry you along.

You probably already know whether you like this movie based on your reaction to Vince Vaughn in the past. I think I’d be wasting my time trying to convince you that this is a film you need to see, even though you don’t like Vaughn and Wilson. However, if you do like them, you need to know that they don’t let you down in this latest film.

Posted by James at July 26, 2005 10:08 PM
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I love Vince Vaughn; he had me at Clay Pigeons. I love him for a different character, a perverse character. One that set him up to be Norman Bates in the Psycho remake and one that allowed him to believably stray from his memorable character in Swingers.

BUT, I truly enjoyed Wedding Crashers and the character he played in it. Although I can't compare because I haven't seen Dodgeball or all of Old School.

Posted by: Sharon at July 27, 2005 3:30 PM

VV's most famous role is probably in Swingers where he played a funny, unchanging counterpoint to the main character's arc.

Posted by: Mike at July 27, 2005 4:23 PM

Ah, but you already said that. Pardon.

Posted by: Mike at July 27, 2005 4:24 PM

I'd say people will enjoy this film if they enjoyed Dodgeball or Old School, but the reverse may not be true. I think Wedding Crashers has broader appeal.

Does that make it a better movie? I dunno. But for some summer laughs it sure hit the spot. And Jeebus I needed (and need) it.

Posted by: James at July 27, 2005 4:32 PM

I liked VVin Psycho. Most of that movie was so much like the original that I almost didn't see the point, but he brought something different to the Norman Bates character. He was a little more affable, and a little less pitiful.

Posted by: Julie at July 27, 2005 4:46 PM

Both Sarah and I had a great time at Wedding Crashers. She had to quiet me several times for laughing too loud.

I am in full agreement regarding the "lack of mental stimulation" - I'm getting plenty enough before 8 am each day thank you.

You can always un-stimulate your brain with Beavis and Butthead. That's how I got through grad school.

Posted by: bill at July 28, 2005 2:35 AM

He said "stimulate."
Heh heh heh heh heh.

Posted by: Julie at July 28, 2005 9:00 AM

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