Budding Bromance – The Wedding Ringer (2015)

Consistent chuckles.  So this is about a friendless man (Josh Gad) who is getting married.  They are about a week away from the big day when he has to figure out what he’s going to do for the male portion of the wedding party.  He learns of a service that a unique entrepreneur (Kevin Hart) offers where he can purchase a best man and groomsmen for a few weeks, and the shenanigans begin shortly thereafter.  I had pretty low expectations on this one; even though Kevin Hart’s stock is riding as high as can be right now, he’s not infallible (as evident by Ride Along), and the previews for this looked lackluster at best.  He’s come a long way from being a cameo in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and he really does have the charisma and moxie to carry a movie as a leading man when he chooses the right project.  I’ve had mixed feelings about Josh Gad’s career, and he really needs to try and establish an identity for himself so he can stop being thought of as the other Jonah Hill.

gadHe’s really trying to get his name out there, but besides Frozen, he keeps picking bad projects, like Jobs and 1600 Penn.

Having just got married, I noticed a lot of little things that made me say “that’s not how that works!”, especially regarding the insane timeline presented for wedding planning.  For example, doing tastings when you’re only a week out, are you out of your mind?  It’s not a huge deal, because this is as predictable as can be, and you know how this is going to play out just from hearing the premise alone.  Being predictable isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, and so much of what makes this work better than the standard comedy is the chemistry between Hart and Gad; you really do buy that these guys are starting to become friends and are enjoying one another’s company.  Also, when Hart has to emote, he does have the chops to sell it, and he does have improvisational abilities to come through in a pinch.

hartHe’s the one that makes it better than the misleading 28% rottentomatoes rating.

This is a watchable comedy.  It’s rated R, and the majority of the adult language humor does actually work, as they don’t overdo it, which gives it a natural feel.  It’s the physical stuff that doesn’t really pan out; if you’ve seen a trailer for this, you know that there is a brunch scene where a grandmother gets set on fire.  It’s not very funny, and you just have to get past it.  Also, it feels about 15 minutes too long, and this could have been completely fixed if you cut out a wildly unnecessary football subplot.  While this does focus on a wedding, this film is much less about romance and more about bromance.  These guys genuinely seem like they’re having a good time, and in that sense, it is infectious.  Also, the very last joke before the end credits start to roll is hysterical, and raised this for me by a half a rating; really, it tickled me that much.

The Wedding Ringer (2015) ***

– Critic for Hire

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