Whether in the form of KY wrestling and frat boy hijinks, sexist mock 1970s news anchor shenanigans or red rubber ball based schadenfreude, we've come to expect a certain level of outrageousness from Vince Vaughn and company, and this summer's heavily hyped 'Wedding Crashers' is no exception. Though lacking the bizarre creativity and articulate idiocy of the previous spate of recent hits largely due to weaknesses in the script and direction 'Wedding Crashers' is still a solid comedy with a few genuinely uproarious moments, undoubtedly headed for box office gold.
A screwball comedy based on a tried and true formula boy does something outlandish to get girls, boy meets girl through said wacky endeavor, boy lies to girl, boy gets tormented by girl's crazy family, love, happiness and hilarity ensue 'Wedding Crashers' is a film almost entirely dependent on its stellar cast. Fortunately, they don't disappoint.
Quickly dispensing with the introductions, the film dives into a whirlwind multicultural montage of weddings, beddings and banter as best friends and wingmen John (Wilson) and Jeremy (Vaughn) playing such thinly veiled versions of themselves they might as well call the characters Owen and Vince blaze through women, fake identities and countless renditions of 'Shout.' They're divorce lawyers who should've outgrown these antics years ago, but Wilson and Vaughn's happy-go-lucky charisma makes them funny rather than sleazy. We get the feeling they genuinely love the whole festive atmosphere of wedding season, and the actors make for a hilarious duo, riffing with each other and firing off non-sequiturs and numbered rules to wedding crashing at breakneck speeds.
As the season draws to a close, the pair sets their sights on the wedding of the year Treasure Secretary William Cleary's (Christopher Walken) daughter. They promptly spot bridesmaids Claire (Rachel McAdams) and Gloria Cleary (Isla Fisher), and the game is afoot. Jeremy makes quick work of Gloria, who turns out to have more of a wild side than he bargained for, but John's pursuit of Claire is hampered at every turn by her belligerent boyfriend Sack (Bradley Cooper) and the amorous attentions of her mother, Kathleen (Jane Seymour). John has a genuine connection with Claire, but needs more time to seal the deal, prompting a weekend excursion to the Cleary mansion and all of the traumatic comedic dysfunction it entails, complete with a disturbed son (Keir O'Donnell) and raucous grandma (Ellen Albertini Dow, the perennial sweet old lady with the mouth of a sailor).
Director David Dobkin ('Clay Pigeons,' 'Shanghai Knights') has never showed much promise behind the camera, and the mediocre script by Steve Faber and Bob Fisher doesn't give him much help. It enjoys the greater freedom an R rating entails, but gets too tied down to the formulaic plot to really push the comedic boundaries or take full advantage of the rating. Dobkin's sometimes plodding pacing shines a spotlight on the script's holes, and he mishandles a few scenes so badly that they become frightening rather than funny. His saving grace is his previous experience with Wilson and Vaughn, who are clearly enjoying themselves here.
And they're not the only ones Seymour seems to relish the chance to play against type, effortlessly slipping between blueblood society wife and vampy aging sexpot who can still exude enough sexuality to make Wilson squirm. Walken is stuck playing the straight man, but still manages to earn some laughs with his deadpan expressions and a few well-timed glances. The only dead weight is the normally hilarious Will Ferrell, who continues his current subdued summer trend with a clumsy cameo as crasher pioneer Chaz.
It's not always easy for actresses to keep up with Wilson and Vaughn, but McAdams and Fisher are the perfect foils. McAdams has the same effortless charm as Wilson, and they share the easy rapport and palpable chemistry of a newly minted couple. Playing spicy to the other couple's sweet, Fisher and Vaughn steal every scene. Vaughn may have finally met his match in Fisher, a pixyish firecracker who seizes every chance to climb his 6'5 frame with near-psychotic abandon.
That infectious enthusiasm is ultimately what makes the film a success. Sure, there are notable flaws in the script and direction, but 'Wedding Crashers' is still one of the funnier offerings this year. Above all else, 'Wedding Crashers' is an actors' showcase, and its uproarious cast takes the cake.