THE WEDDING RINGER (Jeremy Garelick). 101 minutes..
THE WEDDING RINGER (Jeremy Garelick). 101 minutes. Opens Friday (January 16). See listing. Rating: NN
Where to watch: iTunes
The audience I saw Kevin Hart’s latest trick with was practically rolling in the aisles, and with good reason. Unlike most movies featuring Sony’s cash cow – in which filmmakers drop Hart in a scene, pull the string on his back and let him loose – The Wedding Ringer gives the actor actual material to play off.
His Jimmy Callahan, the eponymous wedding ringer, is a character, not just a comic foil, and he gets some decent punchlines instead of the hot air of his usual motor-mouth act.
Josh Gad also does a fine job as Hart’s straight guy, making it easy to overlook how lazy, predictable and mildly offensive The Wedding Ringer actually is. Jokes border on misogyny and homophobia, and animals slobber over genitals as if they were copping gags from the Adam Sandler playbook.
Jimmy makes a killing pinch-hitting as most loyal bro and best man to friendless guys who have no one to call on for their wedding day, which is how he improbably ends up in the service of Gad’s Doug, a loser with deep pockets who’s landed a trophy fiancée (The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting).
Most times, the movie is comfortable with the lowest common denominator, but there are periodic bits that give Gad and Hart room to click, particularly when planning their charade. Their personality quiz and a sweet dance sequence synchronizing to Born To Hand Jive and Teach Me How To Dougie are highlights.