By Mark Saldana

Rating: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

The best thing about this comedy movie is that stars Kevin Hart and Josh Gad do offer charming and often funny performances.  The problem is The Wedding Ringer is basically a hybrid of Wedding Crashers and I Love You, Man.  For those who haven’t seen those films, perhaps they’re better off seeking these out instead of watching a movie rehash that has its share a stale moments and awkward and painfully unfunny ones.  For the people who have seen the films I’m recommending, watch them again because The Wedding Ringer doesn’t honestly deserve top dollar for similar material and themes previously presented and done so in more satisfying ways.

Gad stars as Doug Harris, a smart and successful attorney about to marry the woman of his dreams (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting).  Doug at first feels ecstatic that he has won the heart of such an attractive young lady, but then nearly has a nervous breakdown when he has to come up with a best man and several groomsmen when he’s been a loner for most of his life.  Enter entrepreneur Jimmy Callahan (Hart).  Callahan runs a business offering his services as a best man for what he considers to be a reasonable fee. Gad’s situation is rather unique, though. Not only does he need a best man, but he also needs nine groomsmen.

Written and directed by Jeremy Garelick with Jay Lavender as co-writer, The Wedding Ringer not only combines elements of Crashers and I Love You, Man, but also some of the mad-cap humor stylings of Meet the Parents. This mixed bag of recycled movie elements does deliver laughs and likable characters, but just doesn’t stand out from any of its predecessors.  It’s a classic example of the old Hollywood attitude, “If it worked before. let’s do it again.” However, I would rather not see a cookie cutter, carbon copy of previous movies. I’d rather re-watch the original ones that did it better.

This film is not completely horrible, but certainly has it share of jaw-droppingly bad gags and awkward comedy fails.  Then again, that all depends on one’s sense of humor. Some audience members did laugh more than I did during the screening, but I usually sat bewildered as they laughed. Lame pratfall gags involving a person’s weight, a poorly performed stammer joke, and an over-acted gay caricature had me somewhat annoyed.  On the more positive side, Josh Gad and Kevin Hart do have great comic timing and share a palpable chemistry.  At first, I didn’t think they would make a great comedic pair, but their work together actually impressed me.  I would love to see them perform together in a much better movie.

As I previously stated, I wouldn’t recommend watching this problematic and unoriginal comedy theatrically. It does have some positive things going for it, but interested parties should wait to rent it, watch it via Netflix or through paid television. Gad and Hart make an unlikely comedic duo that gel wonderfully, but this is definitely the wrong movie to showcase their talents.



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