Wedding Crashers is the story of John (Wilson) and Jeremy (Vaughn), whom we discover have made a religion out of sneaking into weddings and bedding women weakened by the event’s romantic atmosphere. As if to excuse their womanizing, Jeremy floats the idea that they’re crazy and young, to which John wisely replies, “We’re not that young.” But they’ve been doing it for twelve years of their seventeen year friendship, and the steady stream of wedding one-niters shows no sign of abating. The film wastes no time in getting to a hilarious montage of their crashing exploits, as they assume various fake names and backgrounds, then make themselves the stars of whoever’s wedding it is that they’ve invited themselves to. By the time each party is over, they’ve wooed incredibly beautiful women who might normally not give them a second glance, and then take them home to dance them topless into their respective beds. In a move that can only be described as fitting, director David Dobkin ends their extended crashing montage with a parade of beautiful, heaving, bare breasts.
John is getting burned out on wedding season when Jeremy talks him in to their biggest crash yet; the Secretary of the United States Treasury (Christopher Walken) is marrying off his eldest daughter and Jeremy wants to be there for the sumptuous, high class after-party. It’s there that the movie shows its soft underbelly, as John starts to fall for the Secretary’s second oldest daughter Claire, played by the incredibly charming Rachel McAdams. There’s something different about Claire, she’s wry and sarcastic, she seems to see through all the pretension and sap around her. She doesn’t see through John’s bullshit, but then no one does. Though Jeremy finds himself being stalked by the Secretary’s sex crazed youngest daughter, John convinces him to use their crashing powers to get an invite to the Secretary’s palatial home. Things get really odd as John and Jeremy try to keep up their façade in a more intimate setting, and John tries his damnedest to pry Claire away from her athletic, macho boyfriend. Don’t worry, it all comes back around to crashing in the end.
As you might expect in an R-rated comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as two buddies crashing weddings to get some strange, Wedding Crashers is raunchy, dirty, and morally reprehensible. What’s weird is that hidden beneath all the nudity and under-the-table hand jobs is the soft, squishy core of a romantic, wide-eyed chick flick. Wedding Crashers’ dirty little secret is that both John and Jeremy are really a couple of pushovers, which allows the film to be as depraved and dirty as it wants without pigeonholing itself as another one of those by now, really cliché Something About Mary cloned raunch comedies. No matter how low they sink, at the end of the day both of these bastards are basically well-intentioned and though the film does a good job of hiding it, the thrust of this story is a rather naïve plot about finding someone to love.
It doesn’t hurt that Vince Vaughn is at the comedic top of his game. For awhile it seemed as though we might all be getting tired of his shtick, but he’s taken it to an entirely new level here as Owen’s less starry-eyed sidekick. Wilson on the other hand is finally starting to age. Are those liver spots? His best moments come when he’s playing off Vaughn or the incredibly talented Rachel McAdams, he loses something when left to his own devices. It’s also nice to see Chris Walken in a comedy where he’s not mugging for laughs by parodying himself. But the story here is Vaughn, who comes alive in a way we haven’t seen since Old School, only now he’s given a chance to do so as the film’s front and center second star. His slick and snappy patter drives the film, he’s hip even when he’s doing something completely uncool.
The movie works well because the cast has great chemistry together, and the script is smart and surprisingly full of depth mixed in with a wide variety of fresh sex jokes. Fresh is the operative word there, sex comedies have been done to death and it’s amazing that anyone, even the ad-libbing duo of Wilson and Vaughn has managed to find new material. If there’s a problem with the film it’s only that it carries on a little too long. It felt like it should have been over long before Will Ferrell shows up in his nun chuck wielding cameo, but maybe it’s worth it since what the movie keeps going with is legitimately funny material. Though a leaner, more stripped down version of Wedding Crashers might have played even better, what’s there is a funny surprise. It’s the kind of good comedy that both men and women are likely to go for; men for the crass jokes and exposed cleavage, and women for the sweet romantic storyline blended in with them.
Reviewed By: Joshua Tyler