Do you, the moviegoing public, take Vince Vaughn to be one of the great untapped comic resources of our time? Do you, director David Dobkin, take it you’ve created the perfect showcase for his talents? I now pronounce you audience and laugh-packed smash of the season.
Not since the breakthrough days of Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler and the Farrelly brothers have two hours of movie comedy simultaneously felt so wrong but oh so right. Together Lucas and Spielberg didn’t produce this much big screen fun this summer. Let anyone who’s sat through “War of the Worlds” and disagrees speak now or forever hold his peace.
Vaughn and Owen Wilson prove a marriage made in buddy film heaven. The two play longtime pals who work together in a divorce mediation firm. They’re happy enough in their chosen profession but what they truly love is wedding season. For a dozen or so years they’ve carried on a tradition innovated by an old friend of Vaughn’s by the name of Chaz. When spring rolls around, they make the rounds popping in uninvited at one ceremony after another to celebrate that most sacred of unions: that between a lying scuzzball and an unsuspecting, emotionally vulnerable woman.
The idea is they concoct elaborate back stories and ingratiate themselves with the more babeliscious guests by faking tears during the nuptials (with a little help from Visine), dancing with the flower girl and doing balloon tricks for the kids. They’ve got the thing down to a science and are mathematically at least as likely to get lucky on any given wedding night as the groom.
But then the two infiltrate a high society affair put on by a top government official (Christopher Walken) and something unexpected happens. OK, it’s precisely what we expect: One of the pair, Wilson, falls head over heels for one of Walken’s daughters. It’s real love and he can’t bear the thought of leaving her behind. However, there is the small matter of a sadistic cad of a boyfriend (Bradley Cooper). And the Secret Service. The fact that Wilson is not who he says he is. And the fact that her dad’s one of the most powerful men in the country. Not to mention Christopher Walken.
But then something unexpected really does happen. Though I’d spoil a delectable twist of plot by revealing what that is and so won’t. Suffice it to say Vaughn and Wilson find themselves in positions they never in a million years imagined they’d ever find themselves in with respect to the opposite sex, each other and the path to true bliss. How snappily written by Steve Faber and Bob Fisher is “Wedding Crashers?” After that, something even more unexpected happens.
In addition, Chaz makes a last minute appearance. It’s one of the funniest things done in quite some time by one of the funniest people in movies and any critic who reveals his secret identity should be banned from the cineplex for life.
When was the last time you saw a romantic comedy (at its R-rated, foul-mouthed heart, that is what this is) and didn’t see the ending coming by the first or second scene? None of that for Dobkin and company. Will a better comedy come along this summer? I seriously doubt it. This is a major blast of fast-talking, loopily plotted, politically incorrect film fun. At least a dozen scenes are classics and the dialogue achieves a sort of turbocharged screwball poetry which Vaughn delivers as though channeling the spirit of “Stripes”-period Bill Murray. Do I believe the country is overdue for a good laugh and “Wedding Crashers” is just the picture to deliver it?