Wedding Crashers [DVD]
Director : s David Dobkin
Screenplay : Steve Faber & Bob Fisher
MPAA Rating : R
Year of Release : 2005
Stars : Owen Wilson (John Beckwith), Vince Vaughn (Jeremy Grey), Christopher Walken (Secretary Cleary), Rachel McAdams (Claire Cleary), Isla Fisher (Gloria Cleary), Jane Seymour (Kathleen Cleary), Ellen Albertini Dow (Grandma Mary Cleary), Keir O'Donnell (Todd Cleary), Bradley Cooper (Sack Lodge), Ron Canada (Randolph), Henry Gibson (Father O’Neil)
One could make a substantial argument that there are precisely two ways to have fun at a wedding: Either you go with someone you love or you pick someone up at the wedding. That’s it. Going to a wedding solo -- and, worse, leaving a wedding solo -- can be one of modern life’s great miseries, made all the worse by the fact that you have to grin and bear it while being baked in the expensive, rosy glow of someone else’s romantic wish fulfillment.
Wedding Crashers effectively has it both ways. It’s a split affair, with the first half rooted deeply in sarcastic cynicism and the second half digging out redemption for its seemingly unredeemable lothario protagonists. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn play John Beckwith and Jeremy Grey, a pair of divorce mediators who spend their spare time crashing every big wedding in town in order to pick up women whose defenses and inhibitions have been weakened by the air of matrimony. Wilson and Vaughn, members of the so-called “Frat Pack” of comedic actors whose ranks also include Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, and Will Ferrell, are well-matched, with Wilson’s shaggy charm playing nicely against Vaughn’s motor-mouth enthusiasm. Wilson essentially plays the romantic straight man, while Vaughn is the clown, his gusto slowly buried beneath an ever-growing heap of indignities.
Director David Dobkin (Shanghai Knights) doesn’t waste much time before jumping head-first into the wedding-crash ploy, sustaining an exuberantly lengthy montage of John and Jeremy crashing weddings (Jewish, Irish, Indian, etc.) and using every ruse in the book -- from dancing with the flower girl, to using such groan-worthy lines as “I think we only use 10% of our hearts” -- to land girls in bed after the reception.
The fact that John and Jeremy’s wedding crashing is all about sex is what makes their scheming so gleefully cynical; they’re essentially exploiting others’ public displays of intended lifelong love to uncover a direct passage to no-strings sex, the very opposite of what matrimony is all about. But, Wedding Crashers isn’t nearly as hard-hearted as you think (or, in some cases, hope), especially once John and Jeremy crash the big-time wedding of the daughter of the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury (Christopher Walken). There, John sets his sights on middle daughter Clair (Rachel McAdams), who turns out to have a sadistic blueblood boyfriend (Bradley Cooper), and Jeremy gets tangled up with youngest daughter Gloria (Isla Fisher), who turns out to be both a virgin and a “stage-five clinger.”
Jeremy wants to make a hasty exit, but John is so taken with Rachel that he manages to get them invited to an after-wedding weekend getaway with her wealthy, but highly dysfunctional Kennedy-esque clan at their weekend lake house (mansion, really). This is decidedly against the “rules” that John and Jeremy so strictly follow, but by this time they’re both so far off their well-worn groove that anything’s possible. And that is precisely what gives the movie its kick. The opening scenes of wedding crashing are hilarious and naughty, but they’re not enough to sustain an entire movie. The shift to the weekend getaway changes the movie’s tone and introduces numerous clashes that threaten to upend not only John and Jeremy’s scheme, but their friendship, as well.
Unfortunately, Wedding Crashers goes on a bit longer than it probably needs to, winding its way to a tidy, romantic conclusion that finds the previously sex-crazed commitment-phobes happily in the arms of their beloveds. In a sense, this is yet another instance of animal comedy safely neutered in the third act, and it would be disheartening if it weren’t made so clear early on that this was the direction the story was headed. Even when Hollywood comedy is at its nastiest, it still finds a way to embrace romance.
|Wedding Crashers Uncorked Edition Platinum Series DVD|
|Wedding Crashers is available on DVD in both an unrated “Uncorked Edition,” which includes both an unrated version with 8 1/2 additional minutes and the R-rated theatrical version, and a regular Platinum Series edition with only the theatrical edition. Both versions are available in both widescreen and pan-and-scan.|
|Distributor||New Line Home Video|
|Release Date||January 3, 2006|
|No surprise that New Line delivers another stellar transfer. Wedding Crashers is presented in a spot-on anamorphic widescreen transfer. Though just a bit soft at times, it is well-detailed and features bold, popping colors.|
|The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack is also solid. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout (which is crucial when Vince Vaughn goes off on one his rapid-fire monologues), and the film’s use of music is nicely arranged in the surround speakers. The “Shout!” montage near the beginning is appropriately heavy and well spaced.|
|Director David Dobkin provides a surprisingly thoughtful screen-specific audio commentary, while Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn generally cut up on their commentary track. While Dobkin takes himself perhaps a bit too seriously, while the stars mostly offer beyond buddy jokes and anecdotes, which makes one think they might have been most effective had they been all combind onto one track. The disc also includes two featurettes: “Event Planning,” a 12-minute featurette that looks at the design and shooting of all the wedding scenes in the film, and “The Rules,” a 7-minute riff on the rules of wedding crashing, which are also listed out in a text-based supplement. A “Soundtrack” feature allows you to jump to any point in the movie that features a song. Also included are the film’s infamous teaser trailer and the original theatrical trailer.|
Copyright ©2005 James Kendrick
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