In Review: The Wedding Ringer

by Daniel Goodwin on 17/02/2015

As generic as most mainstream rom-coms appear, some manage to exceed expectations and rise above their novelty concepts. This is not the case with writer/director Jeremy Garelick’s The Wedding Ringer. Josh Gad is Doug Harris: a friendless tax attorney engaged to the controlling and vacuous Gretchen Palmer (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting).

Struggling to find friends or associates willing to attend the ceremony, let alone be his best man, Doug hires Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart), a “wedding ringer” who creates a fictional character and acts out the role for a small fee. But Doug also requests several other fabricated groomsman to fill his side of the chapel: a previously unaccomplished feat known in the wedding ringer trade as “the golden tux”. Jimmy agrees and the rest is contrived set ups and grating faux pas, only partially saved by some unexpected depth in the second half.

By the time the first act is over the film’s destination becomes annoyingly clear. The Wedding Ringer improves when sentimental scenes arise, introducing interesting notions previously buried under the hack banality, yet these ideas are only slightly addressed and fail to form the basis of any interesting epiphanies or redeeming plot twists. The real reasons why Doug and Gretchen are getting married, how Doug feels about not having any friends and why Jimmy has such a shallow vocation are all areas that could have been explored further, informing the story to a greater extent.

Where sentimentality is often clumsily mishandled in many romantic comedies, in The Wedding Ringer’s case it surprisingly works. However, the script places too much emphasis on blundering, tasteless humour, and dull supporting characters in place of anything substantial. The lead performances are okay, even though the main characters aren’t likeable enough, but coupled  with a story fashioned by genre clichés and textbook flaws the performances have no chance of salvaging much. The Wedding Ringer becomes almost enjoyable as it scurries towards a conclusion but never aspires to be truly engaging and what true emotion nestles beneath its crass and vulgar veneer surfaces too infrequently to provide sufficient heart.

Daniel has awarded The Wedding Ringer two Torches of Truth


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