February 17, 2015
Doug is a nerdy introvert who is about to get married to a beautiful girl Gretchen. However, with two weeks to go before their grand wedding, Doug still could not come up with a Best Men and six groomsmen. Enter the smooth-talking hustler Jimmy who runs a Best Man for rent business to provide what Doug so desperately needed: a best friend. The spoofy title comes from the traditional Best Man duty of bringing the wedding rings during the ceremony.
Many wedding comedies would be about the bride, like "My Best Friend's Wedding" or "Bride Wars." There have been movies about the parents, like "Father of the Bride" or "Mother of the Bride". There have been been movies about the "The Wedding Planner" or "The Wedding Singer' or even "Wedding Crashers.' More recently, there had films about members of the entourage of either gender, "The Hangover" and "Bridesmaids." As a point of distinction, "The Wedding Ringer" is an uncommon wedding comedy made from the point of view of the groom.
Josh Gad is well-cast as the shy and socially-inept groom-to-be Doug. With his chubby frame, smiling face and polite demeanor, it is not hard to rally behind him and root him on. It is not really hard to conceive how a significant number of men could face the problems as Doug, not having male friends close enough to call a best man or groomsmen. He is easy for the audience to identify with.
Kevin Hart is a natural to play the boisterous and gregarious Jimmy, who had to assume all the traits and fit in all the tall tales that Doug told Gretchen about his imaginary "best friend" dubiously named Bic Mitchum (from various items he saw in the medicine cabinet). Despite his character's filthy mouth prone to profanity, Hart, in his interactions with Gad, still manages to be funny and engaging in a potentially annoying role.
The other actors portraying the "groomsmen" were a rowdy random bunch of the strangest types of men. They were hit and miss in their jokes, many times coming off as too cringe-worthy. Easily recognizable among them is hefty, long-haired Jorge Garcia. The very final scene is even a well-placed reference to Garcia's most famous role on the hit TV thriller series "Lost."
As the bride Gretchen, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting basically reprises her breakthrough role as a sexy but flaky girl in an unlikely relationship with a nerd on hit TV comedy series "Big Bang Theory". More positively impressive is Olivia Thirlby as Gretchen's younger sister Alison. Ms. Thirlby is very pretty and smart, making a mark despite her limited screentime.
Yes, "The Wedding Ringer" had derivative, shallow and raunchy humor, but it still came across with some insightful ideas about male friendships and its intricacies. This film is the feature debut of Jeremy Garelick, who also co-wrote the script. The lead pair of Josh Gad and Kevin Hart share a vibrant comic chemistry together that is a lot of fun to watch. Looking forward to watching more film projects starring these two upcoming comedians. 5/10.