Wedding Crashers Review

No one does sleazy quite like Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn and Wedding Crashers gives them roles perfectly tailored to their insincerity. They're playing John Beckwith (Wilson) and Jeremy Klein (Vaughn), a couple of cheerfully amoral guys-on-the-make whose gameplan is to turn up uninvited at wedding ceremonies, pose as obscure relatives and use the romantic atmosphere to hit on women. Their pick-up techniques are as cheesy as the weddings they crash. "You know they say we only use ten percent of our brains?", says John, looking into a conquest's eyes. "I think we only use ten percent of our hearts." Out on the dance floor with his own squeeze, Jeremy tearfully recalls the friends he lost climbing Mount Everest.

This is an inspired premise for a comedy. Thank heavens writers Steve Faber and Bob Fisher and director David Dobkin (he made the delightful Shanghai Knights) didn't sanitise it in the name of the almighty PG-13 rating. They've made a proudly R-rated movie that isn't ashamed to revel in its heroes' politically incorrect behaviour and that makes fun of its own moral lessons. Trey Parker and Matt Stone would be proud of them.

Of course the fun would dry up quickly if life were too easy for these hustlers. Attending the society wedding of the year, they meet their match in the beautiful Cleary sisters. Jeremy picks up shy, blushing Gloria Cleary, only to find she isn't easily put down again - she's "a stage five clinger" in Wedding Crasher terminology. Gloria's played by Isla Fisher, the Australian actress, lad's mag model and former star of Home And Away. She's eye-openingly funny here. Stealing scenes from Vince Vaughn at the top of his game is quite an achievement.

John meanwhile breaks the cardinal rule of wedding crashing by falling head over heels in love with Claire Cleary (Rachel McAdams), who may just be his soulmate. He manages to wangle an inviation to her family home but to win her heart, he'll have to outsmart her nasty boyfriend (Bradley Cooper of TV's Alias), her formidable father (Christopher Walken) and her amorous mother (Jane Seymour - yes, out of Live And Let Die!). And he'll have to do it without the help of his best buddy, who has his own problems not only with Gloria but with her crackpot relatives.

Throughout all this, Wilson and Vaughn are enormously fun to watch. Vince Vaughn has been the bright spot in some half-baked movies recently (Be Cool and Mr & Mrs Smith). Wedding Crashers repays his hard work: it's his best vehicle since Made. One moment of his in particular - what happens to him at the Cleary family dining table - earns a place in comic legend.

Owen Wilson is a perfect foil for him but then Wilson seems to specialise in being a perfect foil. His funniest work has been in partnerships with Ben Stiller and Jackie Chan. It's sometimes argued that he plays the same role over and over - the grinning, womanising surfer dude - but he does it so well and wins laughs so easily doing it, who would want him to change?

Wedding Crashers is a near-perfect comedy, the funniest so far this year. Like all the best comedies, it keeps you chuckling long after you've left the cinema. The one minor gripe that could be made is that two hours is a bit long for something so light-hearted yet the film never oustays its welcome and there are few slow spots. The ending, which should be formulaic, is in fact a highlight thanks to a hilarious cameo from a major star whose identity I shan't reveal. Those critics who've given it away without so much as a spoiler warning deserve to be soundly thrashed.




out of 10

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