Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel

Wedding Crashers (2005) *** 1/2

Directed by David Dobkin; written by Steve Faber and Bob Fisher; photography, Julio Macat; editing, Mark Livolsi; music, Rolfe Kent; production designer, Barry Robison; produced by Peter Abrams, Robert L. Levy and Andrew Panay; released by New Line Cinema. 119 minutes. Rated R. Cast: 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), Dwight Yoakam (Mr. Kroeger), Rebecca De Mornay (Mrs. Kroeger), et al.

Note the R-rating. This is an unabashedly - and amusing sex comedy, based on the tactics of two friends (Wilson and Vaughn) in Washington, D.C.-- partners who are Divorce Mediators. I think their profession is cleverly chosen since it involves a strong knowledge of man/woman relations, something that makes the two buddies cynical (both are bachelors) when dealing with sex.

And do they ever deal with sex! The duo's avocation is having sex with women as the equivalent of the "all you can eat" menu of restaurants. Their patented period of choice is the summertime season of weddings. They crash them safely, posing and passing as friends or relatives of the newlyweds. In inventiveness the tactic deserves an A-plus. In selectivity, anything goes given the plethora of bridesmaids, of single women, as well as married but game ladies. We witness all this science by watching the two men's sorties at weddings of all types, from Jewish to Irish to Asian and so on.

Like chameleons, the two pals fit themselves in appropriate fashions, from yarmulkas to military decorations and use also other devices, including being nice to kids and even nicer to women. Reprehensible? Yes, of course. But, man, does it work.

So we are treated with our protagonists' methods, and their results. The movie being R-rated, we can see the men in bed with comely females, in at least one case topless --- although the next shot oddly shows a bra.

I confess that my attention, in the case of Owen Wilson, here and in other films gets distracted by his fascinating broken nose which keeps deviously calling to mind Cyrano de Bergerac, and contrasting Wilson's cynicism with Wilson's cynicism. Soon, however, Wilson enters the area of sentiment when he meets Claire Cleary. She is a true charmer, the sister of the bride, the daughter of Treasury Secretary Cleary, also the sister of younger Gloria, and so on.

Back to the plot. The film should get an Oscar in the FTM category (Fastest Talking Movies), ninety percent of it by our two heroes-antiheroes. The latter are obnoxious liars but also top improvisers. And their vocabulary is rich, though not always correct -as when they refer to the Dalai Lama as "Dali" (cf. the painter.) But then verbal distortions are all over, including someone thinking that "Moby Dick" refers to a venereal disease. Funny references abound.

OK. There's lots of cheap stuff around, and cheap action, but they all work.

As when Secretary Cleary (Christopher Walken) invites our two protagonists first to his yacht, then to his mansion, along with the dislikeable Sack Lodge ( Claire's fiancÚ) we meet much of the Cleary tribe (and household) including a foul-mouthed Granny, the Secretary's son Todd (a sullen, artistic fellow), etc. etc. , plus Jane Seymour as his wife. The latter is a sex-hungry frustrated woman who is roughly patterned after the Mrs. Robinson of "The Graduate" fame. (Long as the film is I wish that her character, as well as Todd's, had been given more footage.)

The movie contains several non sequiturs, surprises -some predictable--, lots of twists, many sexual aspects and many items the elaboration of which my editors would certainly not allow in print. Nonetheless, the caricature of the Idle Rich is palpable and cleverly matches the reprehensible sides of the two male protagonists John and Jeremy.

All this takes time to depict in the movie. And, used as the public is to Marathon-long action flicks, it is much more severe with character-centered films. As a result our two-hour long movie, while a hit, has been criticized for the last 30 or so minutes. I confess that I too became impatient, yet I won't point a finger without watching this work again. And I certainly will re-watch it.

Copyright © Edwin Jahiel

Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel