Any guy-centric wedding comedy will inevitably be compared to “Wedding Crashers,” and the new Kevin Hart-Josh Gad comedy, “The Wedding Ringer,” certainly falls into that category of fast-talking funny films.
And it’s certainly not surprising to discover that it was originally going to star the “Crashers” duo of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn.
Having them star in “Ringer” would probably have been too close to “Crashers,” and it’s a good thing too, because the chemistry between Gad and Hart is great and seriously funny.
The premise here is simple. Gad plays Doug, a nice guy who has no friends, which becomes an issue when his wedding is nearing and he doesn’t want to admit to his fiancee, Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), that he can’t even find a best man, let alone seven groomsmen.
Enter Jimmy Callahan (Hart), a smooth-talking, slick business man who has figured out an amazing business. He’s a best man for hire, taking care of everything from meeting the family to bringing in groomsmen to generating evidence of a lifetime of friendship.
Doug’s situation is especially dire with such a huge wedding party — and you know things won’t go according to plan.
It’s a basic premise that sings thanks to a smart and intensely funny script from writer/director Jeremy Garelick. The first-time director is able to build a large cast of characters — from Gretchen’s family to the oddball crew of groomsmen (including “Lost’s” Jorge Garcia) — and give them all moments to shine.
And the plot, while there are some excessive gross-out moments that don’t add too much to the movie, moves quickly and has enough unique scenes to avoid falling into the typical wedding comedy pitfalls.
But this movie is really about Doug and Jimmy, moving from business partners to besties, and it’s an endearing and incredibly funny journey.
‘The Wedding Ringer’
Directed by Jeremy Garelick
Starring Kevin Hart, Josh Gad, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Olivia Thirlby