MOVIE REVIEW: ‘The Wedding Ringer’ Runs On Fumes

The-Wedding-Ringer

Film: The Wedding Ringer
Starring: Kevin Hart, Josh Gad
Directed by: Jeremy Garelick

Another January, another hit-and-miss comedy from Kevin Hart that was largely ruined by an ad campaign that showed far too much.

Returning to theaters with his third starring role since last January’s Ride Along, Kevin Hart has blended buddy comedy staples with tired romcom antics to deliver The Wedding Ringer. It’s not bad, it’s not great, it simply is, and how much you enjoy it will depend heavily on how many times you were made to watch the film’s numerous trailers over the last six months. There are several gags you haven’t seen yet, but many that you have, and what is left to be seen isn’t all that impressive.

Josh Gad stars as Doug Harris, a socially awkward man who is less than two weeks away from marrying the girl of his dreams (Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco). She’s gorgeous, smart, funny, and unlike her future husband, incredibly popular. Her bridal party includes seven bridesmaids, which she expects Doug to match with seven groomsmen. There is only one problem: Doug has no friends.

After experiencing something akin to a panic attack, Doug is told about a man named Jimmy (Hart) who can solve his wedding problem. With only ten days until the big day, Doug hires Jimmy to find and train seven strangers to serve as his groomsmen, as well as play the role of Doug’s best man. Jimmy agrees, though he worries about the ability to secure such a large order in a small amount of time, and the two quickly begin planning the wedding hoax of the century.

If you feel like you know where The Wedding Ringer is headed then you’re probably right, but for what it’s worth the comedic pairing of Gad and Hart does deliver numerous moments of hilarity. The two jell well together, though neither step outside their comfort zone in any way, shape, or form. Hart talks fast and has the confidence of a lion, but he keeps his true emotions at bay. Gad is a loser who lacks any sense of self-confidence and fears his fiancée will one day wake up to realize she has agreed to marry a fat guy with no friends. It’s nothing Hollywood hasn’t shown us a dozen times in the past, but as the saying goes – why fix what isn’t broken?

Here’s the thing – it’s broken. Shattered, in fact. Kevin Hart hasn’t delivered true comedy gold on the silver screen in well over a year at this point, and his constant presence is starting to wear on even the most diehard fan. I don’t know if it’s because he’s doing too much improv and too little writing, but he’s rarely at the peak of his game. Like Will Ferrell in the not too distant past, Hart seems to believe delivering 500 forgettable one-liners during a feature-length film is more entertaining and/or enduring then well thought out comedy adventures. It’s just riff after riff, with as many jokes hitting the mark as those that miss by a wide mile. For some, that will be enough, but that was not the case for me.

Though several seriously funny people appear in the film, many in underutilized roles, The Wedding Ringer struggles to keep audiences engaged until its obvious conclusion. You could say the trailers doomed the feature long before it ever hit theaters, but there is enough left for those willing to pay that something memorable should have been waiting. This is the type of film that lives and dies on its word of mouth, and I struggle to find a single reason anyone will be talking about this movie in one week’s time. It’s dumb, unoriginal, and entirely forgettable. Gad deserves better. Audiences deserve better. Even Kaley Cuoco deserves better.

GRADE: C-

Review written by James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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