The Groomsmen Movie Review
Edward Burns writes, directs and stars in The Groomsmen, a little known comedy-drama with a very recognizable cast and a decent outcome. John Leguizamo, Matthew Lillard, Donal Logue, Jay Mohr and Brittany Murphy star in this film about marriage, maturity and friendship.
Burns stars as Paulie, a man who is getting married in a week. As tensions broil between him and his brother (Logue) and his brother and his brother's wife, the rest of his friends show up to celebrate the upcoming wedding. As they are all in their thirties now, some still want to party and others want to stick to their responsibilities. One groomsmen (Mohr) attempts to win back his ex-girlfriend, another prepares to confront his friends and family with the truth that he's gay, and everyone begins to realize that they aren't kids anymore.
The cast does an excellent job of elevating the story to the next level. The story is very simplistic in plot, which is completely intentional as the movie is more about character interactions than huge plot points. Every cast member fits their roles wonderfully, even Matthew Lillard who probably turns in his best performance to date (unless you count his uncanny ability to replicate Shaggy). Murphy doesn't get much of a role to work with, but, after all, this movie is about the groomsmen, not the bride. Mohr is probably the highlight of the film, as he shamelessly embarrasses himself over and over again as he attempts to win his ex back - usually via very inappropriate methods.
The Groomsmen has its funny moments and its dramatic moments, and the synergy is quite good. Comedy-dramas often struggle as one genre generally ends up outweighing the other; if audiences are expecting to laugh and instead receive a heavy-handed third act, you will lose them. Conversely, if you get too funny you destroy the depth the director is aiming for. Burns has already done a couple movies along these lines, and seems to be making a name for himself with small stories and intriguing characters. The Groomsmen switches between comedy and drama easily and seamlessly, just like in real life. One moment the group of friends can be laughing, and the next they can be fighting. That's just how it goes.
Ten years from now, no one will know about this movie. While good, it doesn't break any barriers or establish new ground. I wouldn't call it safe, but it isn't risky, either. Still, for a fun, feel-good movie that presents some great characters and a consistently entertaining story, The Groomsmen is well worth a rental.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.