Words by Josh Powlesland
Note - This article was featured on the VUE cinema website as part of their ’Fans Reaction’ Article for the film. The full The Wedding Ringer: Fans Reaction article is available at http://www.myvue.com/film-news/article/title/the-wedding-ringer-fans-reaction.
Starring Josh Gad, Kevin Hart and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, The Wedding Ringer follows Doug (Gad) in the last days of planning his wedding to Gretchen (Cuoco-Sweeting). When he comes to terms with not having enough actual friends to put on the wedding, he hires professional best man Jimmy (Hart) to help put together a team of groomsmen for the occasion. This race against time to build a fake friendship and history between Doug and Jimmy’s disparate team is a great concept and an appealing plot.
Unfortunately, the concept for The Wedding Ringer is much more interesting than the movie itself. The plot isn’t anything special – it hits a lot of the similar beats to your average buddy comedy movie – but that isn’t necessarily something to hold against the film. This recognisability means it doesn’t require much effort to follow, and puts more focus on the comedic set piece moments, most of which land successfully. It should however be called out on the borderline racist stereotypic secondary characters (that reach uncomfortable levels at times) and the fact that it doesn’t really seem to know what tone it’s going for. The film bounces around between the crudest jokes and the occasional really touching piece of character development but never really seems to strike a balance between the two, leaving us with a bit of a mess.
This tonal imbalance is somewhat made up for by some excellent comic timing from both Gad and Hart. The way Jimmy is introduced through a best man montage in which Hart plays multiple very different best men is hilariously well performed and shot, resulting in almost the entire screening I was in laughing for the whole scene. As well as this, their dance-off (which was unfortunately spoiled in the trailers) was an obvious example of the two having great chemistry and comedic timing. Gad strikes a good balance between pathetic and likeable when performing the part of Doug, and it’s a shame the script made little use of his character besides being a plot point.
It’s the underdeveloped characters which are probably the film’s biggest weakness. There isn’t a single fully fleshed out female character in the entire film, even with Cuoco-Sweeting sharing top billing with Hart and Gad and great actresses like Mimi Rogers involved. Most of the male characters aren’t much more than two dimensional either, the only exception being Hart’s Jimmy who has a somewhat complex arc that still could have been better.