Wedding Crashers follows two wild and crazy single guys who believe the best place to have fun is -- you guessed it -- at weddings. These shallow pals, played by Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, spend their spare time crashing as many weddings as possible. They assume various identities and ingratiate themselves with the members of the wedding party. Their goal? To bed the bridesmaids or other attractive female guests. Sadly, despite considerable comic potential, the film falters because of some silly scenes that make it difficult to suspend disbelief. Its too-obvious eagerness for an “R” rating doesn’t help matters either.
Nevertheless, the first part of this movie, filled with lively wedding sequences, is hilarious. Both Vaughn and Wilson evoke hearty laughter as they engage in antics like claiming to be relatives (i.e. “Uncle Ned’s boys”), choosing various dance partners (an elderly lady, a flower girl) to show their sensitivity, and being photographed with brides and grooms. The hilarity continues until the imposters crash the wedding of US Treasury Secretary Cleary’s (Christopher Walken) daughter. Wilson falls hard for a second lovely Cleary daughter (Rachel McAdams, destined for stardom) while another -- seemingly more naïve -- daughter (Isla Fisher) falls even harder for Vaughn. As soon as the guys accept an invitation to the beautiful Cleary estate on Cape Cod, the film unravels faster than a ball of yarn falling from grandma’s knitting basket.
Speaking of grandma, there’s a foul-mouthed one (Ellen Dow) at the Cleary gathering. And a seductive mom (Jane Seymour) who has more than her eye on Wilson. And a homosexual brother (Keir O’Donnell) with a yen for Vaughn. And McAdams’ obnoxious boyfriend (Bradley Cooper) who can't help being suspicious about the two interlopers. Problem is, none of these characters are very funny -- they’re simply annoying. A “Mrs. Robinson”-type scene featuring Seymour and Wilson comes across as especially crass and unnecessary, and so does a silly sexual encounter between Vaughn and O’Donnell.
However, the movie’s last wedding scene emerges as the most unbelievable one in the entire film. A bridesmaid and best man upstaging the bride and groom? A bridesmaid leaving her sister’s wedding during the ceremony? The man she’s engaged to yelling at her from his church pew? I kid you not.
Because the relationship between the characters played by Vaughn and Wilson assumes major importance in Wedding Crashers, comments about the actors’ rapport are in order. Although Vaughn’s fast-talking delivery contrasts nicely with Wilson’s “Aw gee” drawl, this partnership doesn’t work as well as Wilson’s pairing with Ben Stiller in Starsky & Hutch or with Jackie Chan in Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights. There’s something missing here. Maybe Wilson appears too much like Vaughn’s straight man in this film.
Fortunately, the shallow pals of Wedding Crashers do find redemption. Like Alfie, filmdom’s ultimate hedonistic womanizer, they finally realize the emptiness of their selfish lives. Unfortunately, by that time, more than a few viewers probably won’t care.
(Released by New Line Cinema and rated “R” for sexual content, nudity and language.)