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The Wedding Crashers
2005 - R - 119 Mins.
Director: David Dobkin
Producer: Peter Abrams
Written By: Steve Faber and Bob Fisher
Starring: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Christopher Walken, Rachel McAdams, Isla Fisher
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: www.theweddingcrashers.com
   
Two divorce attorneys (Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn) who spend their free time dropping-in on random weddings, find themselves at odds when Wilson falls for a maid of honor (Rachel McAdams) at the wedding of the daughter of a powerful politician (Christopher Walken) in 'Wedding Crashers', New Line Cinema's mix of gross-out comedy a la 'American Pie' and 'Old School,' and an old-fashioned romantic comedy.

When it originally was given the greenlight New Line Cinema did not expect much from 'The Wedding Crashers.' After all, it starred the hit-and-miss Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, who had just come off dramatic misses in the form of 'Domestic Disturbance' and 'Return to Paradise' while the success of 'Old School' was attributed more to costar Will Ferrell's antics. Not to mention the fact that the screenplay was very R-rated in nature. Therefore, they allotted only 40 million for the film's budget, on the low scale for a major motion picture. Who would have foreseen the good fortune about to come New Line Cinema and director David Dobkin's way?

Mr. Dobkin had to chose from hundreds of women for the role of Owen Wilson's love interest. He just so happened to cast one Rachel McAdams without knowing that she would go on to star in successive hits (for which she won raves) in the form of 'Mean Girls' and 'The Notebook.' The film's good fortune did not stop there either. Early test screenings generated great buzz as audiences embraced the raunchy but good-natured humor of the film. Said praise convinced New Line to keep the film as is (R-rated) instead of cutting it down to PG-13 in hopes of luring the coveted teen segment. Does all the good luck behind the scenes lead to a good overall product?

Much to my own surprise, the answer is a resounding yes. The film's success starts with Steve Faber and Bob Fisher's screenplay. It deftly mixes gross-out humor in the vein of the 'American Pie' franchise with a feel good romantic comedy added with a little bit of 'Meet the Parents' quirkiness for good measure. It succeeds because the screenplay goes just far enough with each one of its components. Especially in the area of gross-out humor, it makes one thankful that the film illustrated a little restraint.

The film benefits greatly from superb performances across the board. Owen Wilson brings his calmly laid-back brand of charisma to his role without going too far into that range so as to dissipate from the screen as he did in 'The Big Bounce.' He is upstaged by Vince Vaughn. The man burns up the screen with his own style of quirky likeability and cocksure attitude. Their female counterparts, as played by Rachel McAdams and Isla Fisher, bring unforeseen comic skills and depth to their respective roles. Fisher is a find as the extremely odd but hilarious girlfriend of Vaughn. And, lending fine support as the family patriarch is the one and only Christopher Walken.

'The Wedding Crashers' is by far the best comedy of the summer, perhaps the entire year.
 
Movie Guru Rating
An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant.
  4.5 out of 5 stars

 
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