Mindless, stupid fun is what the movies have become in the comedy genre, especially during the summer times. Clever, witty humor is replaced by shallow gags and one liners, often buried amid mushy predictable plots that are present in most romantic comedies. However, every once in a while you manage to get a stupid movie that actually shines amidst the drab. For this reviewer, one movie fell into that category and it is the Wedding Ringer. Now I’m not saying this movie was the best, but there were a lot of things that I really enjoyed this movie. Why? Read on to find out.
Think about most modern comedies where one or two jokes are the focus of our characters, with little divergence. Often this involves getting drunk off their rockers, getting high, or sexual situations that are a bit too on display. The Wedding Ringer for the most part manages to break from that mold and instead craft a film that is filled with a variety of laughs. Throughout the entire movie, fans will get their fill of funny, albeit simple, gags that include situational comedy, alcoholic antics, environmental, and so many other styles that I don’t have room to detail them all. Putting on a fake best man relationship I thought would have been stupid, and at times it is, but the concept is a bit of a change from the normal comedy film. The convoluted steps to pulling off the golden tux are presented like a master crime film, with planning, props, and coordination that pokes at the dramatic nature of those films. Injecting humor into the ridiculous team assembled, which if the looks don’t get you, their qualities will. Even better is that the movie keeps things mixed up with the unifying lie of the “friendship” that is present. At one point we are pulling off fake trips only to transition into lying about a character’s background before going to plan another component of the lie. It keeps it fresh, fun, and entertaining through the whole movie, and has the 101-minute runtime flying by. There almost wasn’t a part I was laughing at, especially at the wittier jokes that reference a lot of popular culture.
Of course stupidity is all in good fun, but in order for it to be relevant, make sense, and truly maximize the humor you need a story. Now the trailers for me made this story look like a simplistic tale that was just going to be bad (like Let’s Be Cops). Surprisingly though, and maybe this was due to low expectations, the tale impressed me more than I thought. The fake wedding planning is the main medium to which the comedy is brought out, but as the movie proceeds, you get to see a developing relationship between our two protagonists. For a guy like me, the issues each character had are relevant, especially in the desire for a real friend who wants to hang out with you for just being you. That morale is the strongest lesson of the bunch, and while sometimes a little preachy, avoids the overdramatic monologues that life lessons in film have become. Integrating character developing moments with this relationship, as well as into the comedy, further maximized the emotion surrounding this genre. I repeat that the story is not unique, and a little drawn out at times, but the more serious moments keep the comedy grounded to reset for the next wave of laughs.
If you haven’t guessed yet, the unifying force of my two previous paragraphs are the characters, who are only brought to life by the actors portraying them. So why don’t we talk about them? Kevin Hart, the mad man of comedic craziness, is back in all his ridiculousness. In my previous reviews you’ll know that Kevin’s mindless screaming and tougher than all attitude gets old for me after a while. Fortunately, this movie provides a break from the stale ridiculousness that some of his parts have been. The role of Jimmy has added some suave to his character to make the lies and idiotic things he does not as in your face. Kevin actually has some clever lines, and his delivery was much better for me, focusing more on the timing and delivery, than the volume of his screams. For once I could actually understand everything he stood, a rare feat for the man. An added bonus is that his character was actually serious as well, again balancing the disproportionate insanity I’m used to seeing with him. Josh Gad as well did a great job playing his stereotypical nerd role he has made famous. The shy and quiet nature seems to come natural to him, and the desires to break out of that shell must have been a goal of his for some time now. Many will find his bad luck, klutziness, and social awkwardness to be hilarious, and seeing his pathetic attempts to be normal had me in a laughing fit for most of the film. Of course the real magic comes from the chemistry between these two, and how effortless they are in blending with their supporting cast. You feel part of a brotherhood with these two, and the adventure they bring us on is not only fun, but also heartwarming at times. Their chemistry is good, and I would like to see future movies with them, but not any time soon because I want the magic to remain fresh.
Wedding Ringer is not very original, but I had a lot of fun for the film. With the diverse comedy, the relatable character, and the good chemistry it has a lot of elements that will keep you entertained. Despite how predictable it is, I feel most will enjoy the film for what it is, especially those looking for a break from the mass produced milieu that the comedy genre has become. I’m encouraging all to give this film a shot in the theater and wish you as many laughs as what I had last night with it.