‘Wedding Ringer’ ain’t no winner

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First Posted: 1/19/2015

I’m assuming that “The Wedding Ringer” is supposed to be a comedy mainly because it’s filled with endless shots of Josh Gad bumbling around and falling about with the grim resignation of a man who realizes that he’s only in this movie because Kevin James was too expensive. But, if it is indeed a comedy, why is the cinematic world that’s presented here such an unrelenting hellscape where dangerously wacky actions carry zero consequences, dogs are perpetually on the verge of giving young men weird, unwanted blowjobs, gay people exist simply to be laughed at and most women are manipulative, dream shattering whore-creatures.


The rest are just whores. Nice whores whose personalities are defined by the fact that they smile emptily and pretend to be Russian. But still, whores all the same.

Was all of this meant to make me laugh, nod my head in approval and clap my hands with barely concealed amusement? Or was this made simply to reaffirm Werner Herzog’s belief that the common denominator of the universe is chaos, hostility and murder? “The Wedding Ringer’s” auteur Jeremy Garelick may claim it’s the former but being that his film contains a shot in which a small child’s groin is crushed by a baseball, I can only conclude that it’s the latter.

But, to be fair, “The Wedding Ringer” isn’t just rancid gender politics and some good ol’ fashioned gay panic, it also doesn’t make a hell of a whole lot of sense. In the film Gad plays a spineless, painfully uncharismatic man with no friends who not only managed to somehow become a powerful tax attorney but also snag a fiancée that looks like Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting.

If that isn’t unbelievable enough, Gad’s wedding is just ten days away and he can’t find a willing best man, let alone seven groomsmen. Instead of just simply recruiting his employees at the law firm to take on these seemingly important roles or, y’know, going without all of that best man horseshit, because who really gives a damn, Gad hires the owner of Best Man Inc. (Kevin Hart) to pose as his best man and provide seven mildly grotesque, ethnically diverse groomsmen that look like they were dragged kicking and screaming out of an episode of “Tim & Eric Awesome Show: Great Job.”

From there the film kind of just meanders around as it pads out the running time with overlong bits that have nothing to do with the central premise like a wild bachelor party straight out of an ’80s boob comedy or a violent game of touch football between Gad and his soon to be father-in-law (Ken Howard) that is depressing mainly because the Joe Namath cameo reminds us that death is quickly coming for Joe Namath.

Reportedly, Hart was attached to “The Wedding Ringer” long before last year’s “Ride Along” made him a bankable movie star. As a result, Hart’s performance carries the begrudging quality of a man biding his time. He doesn’t want to be here and that goes double for Gad who uncomfortably goes through the pratfalls as a distaff Chris Farley surrogate. But it’s difficult to blame either of them for phoning it in because “The Wedding Ringer” is a hatefully dated ‘bros before hos’ misogymedy that either depicts women as untrustworthy, gold digging, perma-nags or beaming, dead-eyed mannequins. Filled with easy, pop-cultural nods to “E.T.,” “The Usual Suspects” and “Lost” (co-star Jorge Garcia is on hand to remind us he was on that thing you used to like several years ago), “The Wedding Ringer” has the forgettable quality of something you half-watched in between Enzyte commercials on Comedy Central eight years ago. On the marginal plus side, an intentionally miscast Jeff Ross puts in an amusing cameo as a wedding singer while the somewhat underrated Whitney Cummings plays a vapid bridesmaid. Oh, and there aren’t any fart gags in this which is kind of amazing. Being this was the type of film in which Cloris Leachman is set on fire and a bloodhound takes a bite out of Gad’s dick, the temptation to fill the movie with an ever-present, cacophonous wall of farts had to be overwhelming.