DVD Review: The Wedding Ringer

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Available to own on Blu-ray and DVD April 28, The Wedding Ringer is a buddy comedy starring Kevin Hart and Josh Gad. The Sony Pictures release has been available in the Digital HD format since April 14. It didn’t set the box office ablaze, but there are a few yuks to be had there and there. The main problem is its resemblance to the far superior I Love You, Man (2009) starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segal. Both films center on a lonely groom in desperate need of a best man. The Rudd movie was ultimately sweet-natured and believable. Ringer throws in some bizarre, over the top elements that ultimately do more to harm it than help it.
WR09 (380x253).jpgDoug Harris (Gad) has a hot, sexy fiancĂ© (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) but no close male friends of his own. If it isn’t bad enough that Doug frets over whether Gretchen is out of his league, she has a large number of bridesmaids already lined up. He catches wind of the so-called “wedding ringer,” Jimmy Callahan, who sells his services as a professional, made-to-order “best man.” Never mind that inevitably people around town would start recognizing this one guy showing up under different names at dozens of weddings. That kind of simple logic would spoil the premise. Doug hires Jimmy and dubs his Bic Mitchum (the fictional name he once supplied Gretchen when she wanted to know about his best friend).

Predictable hardly begins to describe what follows. Perhaps Jimmy/Bic will slowly come to realize that he, like Doug, has no true friends of his own. Perhaps Doug will realize, with Jimmy’s help, Gretchen isn’t that into him after all. Maybe someone in Gretchen’s family, such as sister Allison (Olivia Thirlby), will begin to catch on to Jimmy and Doug’s rouse. Along the way, there are winks and nods to things like E.T., The Usual Suspects, TV’s Lost (thanks to the presence of Jorge Garcia), and a little material borrowed from Hitch. A forced “outrageous” gag involving a dog getting lockjaw after biting someone’s penis not only the misses the mark, it’s stretched into an overly long set piece.

WR08 (380x253).jpgIt’s honestly not all bad though. The main cast is very funny, with Hart and Gad exhibiting great natural chemistry. The funniest stuff is the most the subtle, including the scene in which Gretchen meets her fiancĂ©’s seven groomsmen (“That’s the strangest bunch of guys I’ve ever seen”). Director and co-screenwriter Jeremy Garelick throws in a handful of belly laughs that keep the movie from being a washout. But it could’ve been so much more had it backed off on the pseudo-edgy stuff (including Doug’s grandma, played by Cloris Leachman, being set on fire) and focused strictly on the characters and their relationships.

The DVD contains a making-of featurette, “Going to the Chapel of Love,” plus select-scene commentary by director Jeremy Garelick and star Josh Gad. Exclusive to the Blu-ray are 15 deleted scenes, five outtake reels, “Line-o-Rama,” and an Aloe Blacc music video.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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