Wedding Crashers directed by David Dobkin, written by Steve Faber and Bob Fisher, with Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Christopher Walken. A New Line Cinemas release. 119 minutes. Opens Friday (July 15). For venues and times, see Movies, page 89. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
There are certain truths in life. You don't go to Wendy's expecting filet mignon, you don't shop at Sears if you're searching for couture, and you don't see a flick with Owen Wilson , Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell (or Stiller, Sandler, you know the gang) if you're looking for depth. So why are the writers ( Steve Faber and Bob Fisher ) and director David Dobkin trying to turn a burger into a steak?
The formula starts out simply enough. Basically, nice guys Jeremy (Vaughn) and John (Wilson), divorce lawyers and best friends who crash weddings to pick up girls, get caught up in some wacky mayhem. (See Meet The Parents.)
We learn their special wedding-crashing tricks of the trade, including making balloon animals, dancing with the flower girls and exposing their haunted pasts.
They carry the chairs at a Jewish wedding and break plates with the Greeks. They force-feed the bride wedding cake. Inconspicuous? Hardly. These two smoothies make themselves an integral part of the wedding fun. The louder the better, they reason, quite rightly assuminging that most uninvited guests wouldn't dare to be that obnoxious.
It's all going according to plan until they meet the daughters of Governor Cleary ( Christopher Walken , who else?), Claire ( Rachel McAdams , who lights up the screen) and Gloria ( Isla Fisher , ridiculously hot and ridiculously funny).
Hilarity ensues when the slicksters meet the dysfunctional Cleary clan (racist grandma, lecherous wife, tortured gay son) and Claire's insufferable boyfriend, Sack ( Bradley Cooper , so over the top he might as well be twirling a moustache).
Here's where the guys in charge got greedy. All they had to do was stick to the silly. Let the actor/comedians make funny, let Wilson's laid-back cool play off Vaughn's manic machine-gun delivery, and let the natural chemistry between the boys and the couples develop.
But instead, they insert an unfunny third-act complication and make John and Claire's love story far too serious. They try to fix it with a gratuitous Will Ferrell cameo, but the damage is done.
You'll still laugh in all the right places, Wilson and Vaughn have never been better, and the situations are happily demented. It's just that in this case, less is more.
Keep the expectations lower next time, boys, and try not to reach for the stars.