This weekend, the new comedy The Internship reunites Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in the hopes of making audiences laugh so hard their cash falls from their wallets and into their coffers the way it did with their 2005 film, Wedding Crashers. The caliber of this new comedy is yet to be seen, but until then let us reminisce.
Best friends John Beckwith (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn) are divorce mediators in Washington, DC. When they’re not trying to amicably divvy couples’ assets, John and Jeremy crash weddings to have a good time, enjoy the food and the booze, and most importantly, bed lovely, impassioned ladies. After a successful three weeks on the circuit, Jeremy convinces John to test their mettle and skills by crashing the Mecca of all weddings; the daughter of the Secretary of the Treasury William Cleary (Christopher Walken). Once inside, the dastardly duo set their sights on the Secretary’s other daughters, Claire (Rachel McAdams) and Gloria (Isla Fisher). When John can’t charm Claire due to interference from her beau, Sack (Bradley Cooper), he defies the rules of crashing, and Jeremy’s urging, and wrangles an invite to the Cleary family compound for the weekend. With his game in overtime, John tries to get closer to Claire while Jeremy fends off the grabby hands of his latest conquest.
Directed by David Dobkin, Wedding Crashers is the first film script produced for television writers Steve Faber and Bob Fisher. Whether it is the combination of their writing or the comfortable rapport of Vaughn and Wilson with their material, Wedding Crashers remains one hilariously funny movie.
Aside from a brief and bitter bitch session between a divorcing couple, portrayed by Dwight Yoakam and Rebecca De Mornay no less, the first fifteen minutes lets audiences know they’re in for one wild ride thanks to a fast-paced crashing montage. From Jewish weddings to Italian receptions, the sequences place Vaughn and Wilson’s characters smack dab in the middle of the nuptial action. Joking with the uncles, playing with the children, toasting the happy couple, and wooing the ladies; these interlopers are in their element and the life of the party they weren’t even invited to.
When that paradigm shifts and they find themselves as guests of the Clearys, Vaughn’s super-confident, fast-talking delivery and Wilson’s crooked-smile charm still make it believable they could continue to pull off their ruse. Less believable are the caricatures they encounter during their stay. The sassy Granny (Ellen Albertini Dow), the sisters’ peculiar, gay brother Todd (Keir O’Donnell), and the Secretary’s sex-crazed wife, Kitty Kat (Jane Seymour) are great for creating silly situations and while they offer a few light laughs, the real comedy rests on the crashers’ shoulders.
Kudos to Cooper for his intense performance; he totally sells being a massive douche! Sack Lodge is such a despicable character it makes you wonder what Claire ever saw in him. Therein also lies one of the tried-and-true problems in romantic comedies; the underdeveloped love interest. Claire is indecisive and complaint and while Rachel McAdams plays the role admirably, the creamy complexioned Canadian’s character is little more than eye candy. At least Isla Fisher’s crazy-sexy-cool Gloria is given some loose morals to spice things up. And as the Secretary and father, Walken’s both intimidating and caring; his portrayal seems like effortless fun for him. A cameo by Will Ferrell as Chazz Reinhold, the master of wedding crashing, is hilarious and falls just shy of being overused… unless of course you’re a Ferrell-hater in which case his inclusion will instantly prove too much.
When I first reviewed Wedding Crashers some eight-odd years ago, I took a page from its book and listed my own set of rules for crafting a hilarious comedy. A montage of hijinks, quotable lines, and surprising cameos all made the list, but the truth is there isn’t a consistently reliable formula; there’s only that ol’ movie magic that elevates some to greatness.