Wedding Crashers

Stephanie Zacharek owes me $9.75 plus $2.70 Metrofare. I went to see Wedding Crashers (IMDB) for two reasons. First, I’ve really been worried about the big Hollywood studios lately. I figured that maybe I should buy a pity ticket, just to keep things going. I’m always happy to help. Second, reviews like Zacharek’s led me to believe that the latest Owen Wilson-Vince Vaughan collaboration would be at least a slight departure from Hollywood’s formula comedy factory.

Zacharek praises Wedding Crashers as “that rare contemporary mainstream comedy that seems to have been made without parental supervision.” In other words, I was prepared for a film that didn’t moralize about its characters’ rock-and-roll wedding-crashing lifestyle. But after a relatively brief, and mildly funny, wedding-crash montage, the film quickly shifts into the narrative expectation that these guys need to grow up.

To be fair, it’s not entirely Zacharek’s fault. Debra Dickerson, also of Salon (did they get a kickback from New Line?) celebrated the film for its willingness to be a litte raunchy: “‘Crashers,’ at least in the beginning, wasn’t about love. It was about making multi-orgasmic lemonade on love’s fringes until it was your turn to star in a wedding.” She later criticized the film because the entire opening montage, set to the Isley Brothers’ “Shout” (which I thought was a weak touch, anyway), showed Wilson and Vaughan at dozens of weddings, none of which featured African-American characters, though other ethnicities were represented (a fair criticism, Dickerson’s argument is well worth a read). Dickerson’s reading of this montage as “a celebration of sex, carnality and the feminine ideal” and “the lion-tamer aspect of being a straight chick” wsn’t teribly apparent, either, although I’ll acknowldege that Isla Fisher’s performance as Claire (the clingy woman from the ubiquitous previews and commercials) was entertaining.

Ultimately, what bothers me about the hype for Wedding Crashers is that the film has been described as risky or edgy simply because it received an R rating and shows Vaughan and Wilson shagging lots of women at weddings where they weren’t invited. Now, to be fair, I didn’t really expect the film to endorse their behavior, nor would I want that, but Wedding Crashers seemed to feel somewhat guilty about its premise, jumping way too quickly into its efforts to redeem Wilson and Vaughan. This is particularly evident when Will Ferrell, who continues to strke me as remarkably unfunny, cameos as Vaughan’s mentor, a legendary wedding crasher who is now in his 40s, living at home with his mom, and has now taken to crashing funerals. Basically, Ferrell serves to remind us that when wedding crashers reach a certain age, their behavior is no longer charming, but grating and embarrassing instead.

4 Comments »

  1. girish Said,

    August 2, 2005 @ 6:54 am

    Chuck, Thanks. You have now saved me $10. I almost went last night but something came up. I’ll have to find a way to return the favor sometime!

  2. Chuck Said,

    August 2, 2005 @ 10:41 am

    Girish–that’s why we blog. I’ll keep reading your reviews instead of taking advice from the folks at Salon. I’m sure you’ll save me $10 if you haven’t already….

  3. marc Said,

    August 2, 2005 @ 10:54 am

    Chuck, I’m glad someone has finally pointed out how uninspired that Shout! montage was. I mean come on– we all know that The Electric Slide is played far more at weddings. Plus, it comes with it’s own dance. Shoddy filmmaking indeed.

  4. Chuck Said,

    August 2, 2005 @ 3:00 pm

    I was thinking “The Chicken Dance,” but the Electric Slide is probably better. “YMCA” tends to get people on the dance floor at the weddings I’ve attended….

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