Okay, I’m not giving this movie two stars because it’s
not funny; I’m giving it two stars because it’s a pretty
bad film. Structurally speaking, the thing’s a mess. There
are plot holes galore, tons of one-dimensional cardboard characters,
and too many loose ends to mention. Did it make me laugh? Sure it
did. But those laughs came irregularly and often awkwardly throughout
this silly, offensive festival of raunchy humor and misplaced morality.
The film, directed by David Dobkin (Shanghai
Knights, Clay Pigeons), begins with an elongated mediation
scene, which is actually quite well done, particularly the casting
of Dwight Yoakam as one of the divorcing spouses.
With Wilson and Vaughn’s
clever back-and-forth banter and somewhat unrealistic mediation
skills, I thought, hmmm, this might turn out to be a very entertaining
film. Unfortunately for me and every other intelligent, mature person
over the age of 19 in the audience, that wasn’t the case,
as the film quickly spiralled out of control and left the guy sitting
next to me with nothing to do but look at his watch for the next
hour and a half.
John Beckwith and Jeremy Klein (played by Owen Wilson and the always-energetic
Vince Vaughn) are longtime best friends and divorce mediators, which
is ironic since their favorite pastime is crashing weddings and
sleeping with any woman who is willing to fall for their ridiculous
web of lies. These guys are not heroes; they’re the kinds
of men your mother warns you about in junior high. They don’t
have a clue about how to tell the truth. And we’re supposed
to love these guys and root for things to turn out well for them?
There’s a surprising cameo by box-office dynamo Will
Ferrell, which will undoubtedly bring even more pleasure
to the millions of teenage boys who’ll be flocking to this
film in record numbers. But sadly, he represents the most reprehensible
character in the film—the sick, twisted guru who apparently
invented wedding crashing (at least in the Washington, D.C. area
where the film is set). By the end of the film, Ferrell has morphed
into a funeral crasher, where he proudly scores with dozens of bereaved
and sorrowful women.
The humor is, for the most part, sexual and demeaning. There’s
also a bizarre character named Todd Cleary who, it turns out, is
gay and very misunderstood. He’s also completely insane. I
can imagine some gay rights groups taking offense at this one-dimensional
portrayal of a gay man who is completely wacko. Also somewhat inexplicably,
Cleary’s grandmother is rabidly homophobic, and during the
very long dinner scene in Treasury Secretary Cleary’s home
(played by the great Christopher Walken, in a sadly
underutilized role), spouts and spits angrily about Eleanor
Roosevelt’s lesbianism. It’s a weird moment,
and one that drew virtually no laughter from the sold-out crowd
at the screening I attended.
As I mentioned earlier, the film did make me laugh a few times,
particularly during the long dinner scene while Vaughn gets a “body”
massage under the table by his latest female conquest. Unfortunately,
all of the women in the film are seductresses (Jane Seymour
as a sex-crazed Mrs. Robinson-type), sluts (any of the dozens of
women shown jumping into bed with Vaughn and Wilson in the obscenely
long wedding montage early in the film), psychotic stalkers (Vaughn’s
girlfriend), or blindly pathetic (Wilson’s lady love, played
by the beautiful Rachel McAdams). It’s tough
to enjoy a film with so many losers walking around.
If you’re willing to leave your brain and your moral compass
at the door, you’ll probably find yourself laughing a lot.
If not, take my advice and leave this one to the dopes who don’t
mind wasting ten bucks and two hours of their already too-short
—Tiffany Crouch Bartlett