One of the few box office successes of an absolutely dismal summer, "The Wedding Crashers" is also a critical success, taking full advantage of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. A comedy that some say rival the last great film, "Old School," "The Wedding Crashers" is entertaining, funny, but still not quite as good as the Will Ferrell classic from a couple years back.
Wilson and Vaughn star as two men who have a pastime of crashing weddings and meeting women in the process. They get a kick out of making up false identities and becoming the life of the party, even though no one knows them at the party. But when Wilson's character falls for the beautiful daughter (Rachel McAdams, looking especially hot) of the Secretary of the Treasury (Christopher Walken, also looking quite hot), he breaks his own rules to be with her, dragging his poor friend along to deal with a psychotic "girlfriend" (Isla Fisher) and even crazier fiancé (Bradley Cooper).
Those who liked "Old School" will get a grand kick out of this one, as both Vaughn and Wilson turn in stellar performances. Of course, neither men play characters different from the ones they usually play, but they are so good at it I really don't care. Vaughn does his classic stuff when he explains to his secretary why he doesn't like dating, and Wilson faking emotions is also quite... candid ("They say we only use ten percent of our brains. I say we only use ten percent of our hearts."). The two men are aided by a great supporting cast, though both Walken and Jane Seymour are wasted. The movie never really makes them out to be as funny as they could be. On the other hand, Fisher is absolutely terrific as the psychotic sister, and Keir O'Donnell is also a highlight as the creepy gay artist brother who likes to paint Mr. Vaughn. Yes, you heard me right. Also expect small roles for special old-timers Ellen Albertini Dow and Henry Gibson, and one very special cameo for a man who will go unnamed.
The movie in itself isn't completely consistent, as it starts off a bit slow and ends even slower. The last 25 minutes are rather drab as the film shifts gears into arguments and "winning the girl back" drama. Sure, there are a few jokes here and there, but a good portion of this could have been slimmed down. Once the characters leave the mansion, the movie really becomes quite standard.
Thankfully, most of the movie takes place at the mansion. And thankfully, three-fourths of "The Wedding Crashers" is absolutely hilarious. Enough said.
"The Wedding Crashers" deserves to be the hit that it is; it could have been shortened by twenty minutes, but the majority of the film is laugh-out-loud funny.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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