For my screening of this film, stars Kevin Hart and Josh Gad joined and even did a bit of stand-up for the crowd before the film started. I’m a fan of both men, but the reactions that Hart got really just blew me away. He’s got such an immense following and doesn’t need to do much to send people into howling fits of laughter. Both men were nice as can be and they seemed incredibly proud of this film and it was definitely fun getting to meet and talk with each of them too. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to see their film as anything more than just a fun time that you’ll forget in a week.
Doug Harris (Josh Gad) is a successful businessman who makes a ton of money and enjoys his life. He’s getting married in two weeks to Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), the gorgeous love of his life. As the wedding preparations continue, Doug slowly comes to the haunting reality that he doesn’t have a best-man, nor does he have any groomsmen for the wedding. With the help of the planner, Doug is sent to The Best Man, Inc., where he’ll be met by a man who can help him.
That man is Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart), a professional best-man who aids thousands of men by writing them speeches, hanging with them at bachelor parties, and making it seem like the groomsman has a best-friend. He dubs Doug’s situation as the “Golden Tux”, by which he’ll need to assemble seven other groomsmen. They just might be able to pull it off, but it’s going to take a lot of bonding and time to fool everyone at the wedding. As is always the case, hilarity ensues.
The Wedding Ringer is the first Rated-R film where Kevin Hart gets to be himself and be explicit and the result is something that most expected: a lot of yelling, swearing, and some moments of humor. Kevin Hart is a mixed bag of comedy for most, as his stand-up specials truly are outrageously funny. However, when he stars in an actual feature presentation, all he does is shout and jump around and make short jokes about himself. His act can grow old quite quickly and here, he fortunately had Josh Gad to help him keep the film afloat for some time.
At its core, The Wedding Ringer does play around with some fun ideas and a concept that makes from some hilarious escapades. The protagonist in need of a Best Man is nothing new, but this time he needs all he Groomsmen and you can only imagine the ragtag group of guys that comes together. With a lot of focus on them, this film becomes a sort of male Bridesmaids and it does a halfway-decent job of getting some great chemistry going. This business that Hart runs is comical and it’s a fun idea that works for most of the film.
On his own, Josh Gad plays that lovable goofball who knows that he’s got it made in his life. He’s got money, a gorgeous girl, and he’s getting married. However, he doesn’t have friends and in a comedy, we do get a fair bit of sadness and other emotions from Gad’s character. He does play up the goofball bit too often, but the emotions still resonate and he makes the film instantly more enjoyable. He even gets to sing a bit, taking us back to the days of Frozen and The Book of Mormon. With the others, he adapts well to certain types of humor and stands out among a group of moderately funny fellows.
Kevin Hart goes back-and-forth in this film with his comedic approach, as his long speech’s at weddings are almost believable, until you remember what his job is. He plays that aspect of the part extremely well and watching him slip into different characters is a lot of fun. When he’s rounding up the other guys, that’s when things get muddled. The group he assembles is supposed to be comical, and to some extent they are, but they’re a group that’s forced into certain roles that end up making the film less funny.
Above all, there’s the role of the privileged wife who thinks that she gets everything that she wants because she’s a total catch. Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting is useless in this film, if I’m being quite honest. Her character is manipulative and unkind and does next to nothing in the film. She brings nothing to the film and she’s only there for us to see just how nice and unappreciated Gad is. What sucks is that she’s usually quite funny on The Big Bang Theory and she’s not able to use that presence in this film.
The Wedding Ringer is an at times fun film that plays around with some fun ideas that never take full form. Kevin Hart and Josh Gad have a lot of fun with this film and it ultimately leads to the former overshadowing the latter, but it’s still an enjoyable time. There are tons of other unimportant characters that get far too much screen time, but such is life. Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting is enough to make you want to tear your hair out from time-to-time, but fortunately the comedy eases you back in. This film is a fine addition to Heart’s collection and it’s better than Think Like A Man, I can telly you that much.
The Wedding Ringer Trailer