The Wedding Ringer Plot Summary:
Ten days out from his wedding, Doug (Josh Gad) claims to have a best man and seven groomsmen, but in reality has none. Doug hires a mock best man (Kevin Hart) to perform the duties, as Doug has to convince everybody and his fiancé (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) that they’ve known each other for years.
Okay, so the movie starts out with Doug in his office making pathetic phone calls to people he hasn’t seen in years to be his best man, and because he’s overweight, Doug breaks the glass desk he’s sitting on. Hahahahahahahaha!! Oh, I get it – because he’s fat! Hahahahahaa! To the movie’s credit, that’s actually the worst scene in the film. While this started out pretty bad, the film did get progressively funnier. This isn’t the greatest comedy in the world, but it’s passable. What makes this film so uneven are the scenes that are both funny and bomb at the same time. It’s an inconsistent mess. Where I do give this film credit though are the two leads, who do carry it fairly well.
The premise of hiring a fake best man definitely has potential, but it’s basically squandered here. Josh Gad is a solid up-and-coming comedic force, but in the first fifteen minutes, you don’t care for this guy at all. He’s just not funny. As the movie goes on though, he definitely grows on you, and maybe that’s the point. One of Gad’s highlights is his really high-pitched singing voice, which was pretty funny. He also has a great dance scene with Kevin Hart.
Speaking of Kevin Hart, this was definitely more of a vehicle for him. Hart has sky-rocketed to become one of the more bankable comedic talents, especially after last year’s Ride Along. He elevates a lot of weak material, and just when you think he’s about to enter full on annoying Chris Tucker mode, he dials it back. Nothing he says ever bombs, and provides consistent chuckles throughout. It’s easy to predict where this story is going: the relationship starts out as professional, but they end up being actual friends. I’m not breaking any news here. The reason this movie works to some degree is that you do buy into their relationship.
Some of the funnier sequences though centered around the fake groomsmen. These guys worked well as a team, including a funny bachelor party, and a football game that included great music. Each member had their own quirks, some better than others. Alan Ritchson was surprisingly funny as this awkward meat head who stuttered, and Affion Crockett also had some stand out lines. We also have Jorge Garcia (Hurley from Lost), with one unfortunate Lost reference. We get it, you were on Lost. Seriously, that show ended almost five years ago – I think it’s time to move on. There were also a lot of dick jokes I could have done without. Awful.
Speaking of awful, this movie doesn’t get away without having a lot of cringe-worthy clichés. There’s one sequence where someone gets lit on fire. There’s no clever build up to it, it literally just happens. Lazy. We also get a lot of old people jokes that are the lowest form of comedy, and that stuff drives me crazy.
As I mentioned before, the movie is an inconsistent mess, and none of that is more apparent than the fiancé played by Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting. Cuoco-Sweeting gives a good performance, but the writers had no clue what they wanted to do with this character. So, you kind of like her, but then you don’t, then you do again, and then it feels like the movie randomly decides this is the ending they want to go with, and wraps it up in the most hackneyed way possible. One of the few female characters I liked was the fiancé’s sister (Olivia Thirlby), who had good chemistry with Hart.
If you’re in the mood for a few chuckles, this will serve you fine, but I never got one good gut laugh. The movie runs too long, and there are definite lulls. In a better written film, Gad and Hart could definitely make a good duo. The movie also has a bad score, and I know that’s not a big deal in a comedy, but sometimes it makes a difference. At the end of the day, this isn’t very funny, but I’ve seen worse.
Rating: 5.5 out of 10 (Passable Entertainment)
Daniel Cohen is the Film Editor for Pop-Break. Aside from reviews, Daniel does a weekly box office predictions column, and also contributes monthly Top Tens and Op-Ed’s on all things film. Daniel is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in English, and also studied Screenwriting at UCLA. He can also be read on www.movieshenanigans.com. His movie crush is Jessica Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @dcohenwriter.