Wedding Crashers (2005) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I am going to make some harsh comments about this film so I want to establish this point upfront. I liked the movie. It was a refreshingly raunchy comedy in a movie year that has sorely lacked both humor and raunch, and it has a lot of heart as well. The by-play between Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson alone is enough to elevate Wedding Crashers to a level near the summit of the sentimental raunchy film genre. Vaughn and Wilson make a good team, and play off each other well because they possess contrasting strengths. Vaughn, the improv king, is typically blustery as the hyperkinetic and callous motormouth, and Wilson is typically cuddly - but subtly subversive - as the laid-back half of the team. Overall, I think Wedding Crashers was as good as the American Pie sequels, although a cut below the original Pie.

Now that I have gotten that out of the way, let me make the real point. Wedding Crashers is merely a good comedy which should have been a great one. It plants several brilliant seeds that are left unharvested, and it gives too much screen time to things that just aren't funny.

Let's talk first about unharvested seeds.

1. There is an opening montage which demonstrates the wedding crashers doing what they do - going to weddings to get laid by capitalizing on the emotional vulnerability of the women in attendance. The montage contains some stuff which must have been hilarious. Unfortunately, that hilarity seems to have taken place offscreen. The two boys show up at an Indian Wedding and introduce themselves as something like Radu Singh and Tommy Vindaloo. A great idea is thus planted. How could these Indian lads possibly explain why they look like Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn? We don't know. The script shows that offscreen. They pull off the same thing by pretending to be members of various other unlikely ethnic groups as well, but again the joke stops with their names.

2. Christopher Walken was cast as the father of the two girls that Vaughn and Wilson eventually fall for. That's a seed for a funny idea, I suppose. Walken can be funny reading a menu. But not here. He plays a nice guy, thoughtful, loving, intelligent, unthreatening, humorless. I'm not complaining that he played the part poorly, mind you, because Walken is a complete professional and he did what he was asked to do. But if you're going to hire Walken, why not let him be Walken, fer Chrissakes? This part could have been played just as well by any competent sixty year old guy.

3. Jane Seymour has a great pseudo-seduction scene with Owen Wilson. She drops in on him while he's changing, removes her top, and says something like, "I just had my tits done. How do you like them?" Then she insists that Wilson feel them. Wilson is reluctant, since he's falling in love with her daughter, but he isn't offered the "no" option, so he feels them, and is sincerely impressed. "Wow, how do they get them so realistic?" Seymour is not pleased with his reaction, so she slaps his face and leaves. That happens early in the film, so you would expect it to be a seed, and that there would be some additional tension between these two characters during the time Seymour's daughter (Rachel McAdams) moves toward dumping her wealthy and powerful fiancé to take up with Wilson. Nothing. For the rest of the film's running time, the encounter between Seymour and Wilson is basically ignored as if it had never happened.

4. Will Ferrell is brought in to do his obligatory frat pack cameo. It seems that the comedy troupe of Vaughn, the Wilsons, Ferrell, and Ben Stiller can always be expected to pair up in the leads and milk a cameo from one or more of the others. Ferrell is obviously a pretty damned funny guy, so that was another funny seed, but it again went unharvested as Ferrell played his schtick too big, too hammy, and just too desperate for laughs. (How can a guy so successful, so brilliant, and so respected by his peers be so desperate so often?)

5. Vince Vaughn gets a hand job under the table during a dinner with the Secretary of the Treasury. That should plant the seed for some laughs, right? The guffaws never arrived. Nobody else at the table saw or suspected. No punchline.

And then there were the unfunny characters who hogged screen time:

1. The official mandatory Greg Marmalard frat comedy guy - that is to say, the obnoxious fiancé who needs to be eliminated before our hero can get the girl - was sourly, psychotically, violently unfunny, as if the film had been suddenly interrupted by Travis Bickle. That guy got far too much screen time.

2. The foul-mouthed old granny is a comedy character which has become a cliché and needs to be given a time out - unless she has something genuinely funny to say, which this film's granny did not. She was just the usual old coot who seems sweet until she demonstrates an unexpected potty mouth.

3. The two sisters who become the boys' girlfriends have a brother. He is the family embarrassment. As with the Will Ferrell character and the psychotic fiancé, this character is too exaggerated in too many totally unfunny ways. He seems to be auditioning for the role of Gay Igor in a John Waters remake of Frankenstein. 

If one were to eliminate and/or rescramble some of those elements, this film would be a comedy classic. Even in its current form, for all the disappointments and unfulfilled promise, it's just terrific when Vaughn and Wilson are doing their thing!

  DVD info
  • Commentary by: director David Dobkin (Unknown Format)

  • Commentary by: Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn (Unknown Format)

  • Unrated edition includes an additional 8-1/2 minutes of footage

  • Also includes R-rated version seen in theaters

  • Four deleted scenes: Cleary tests John, Jeremy consoles John, Bluefish, "99 Red Balloons"

  • Featurettes: Event Planning, The Rules

  • The Rules of Wedding Crashing

  • Widescreen transfer, anamorphically enhanced. Looks MAGNIFICENT.



1) Many women are seen topless in a musical montage at the beginning of the film. They are all hot, but I have no idea who they are.

2) No nudity of any kind from Rachel McAdams

3) Isla Fisher's character shows buns and breasts, but none of it was actually Isla's body parts. The juxtaposition of flesh and face was obviously avoided.

4) Jane Seymour does show her breasts in a funny scene with Owen Wilson, but no nipple.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Super-panel consensus out of four stars: two and a half stars. Roger Ebert 2/4, James Berardinelli 2/4, Entertainment Weekly A-.

The People Vote ...

  • Box Office Mojo. A monstrous success. Made for $40 million, it grossed $209 million. It opened in second place, but finally ended up with a higher total gross than the film which beat it on opening weekend (the Wonka film)!
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a C. It's a good R-rated comedy thanks to its dependable stars, but it should have been a great movie and fell short.

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