I do not like romcoms. With the exceptions of 2003’s Love Actually and 2005’s Wedding Crashers, I’ve never voluntarily sat through an entire romcom, let alone re-watched one.
But here I am, pondering if I should just await the DVD or catch The Wedding Ringer one more time before it ends its run in cinemas.
Featuring stand-up regular Kevin Hart and Josh “Olaf” Gad, The Wedding Ringer offers a very simple premise: Jimmy Callahan (Hart) is a professional best man for hire, and Doug Harris (Gad) is an overworked less-than-popular guy who, despite having landed the way-out-of-his-league Gretchen Palmer (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), lacks friends to fill in as his groomsmen.
While there isn’t much to be said for plot related twists and developments, the story certainly does hold an interesting outlook on certain tropes that have become common onscreen. Not gonna spoil anything here, but I’ll just say that I especially like how a gay character in particular is portrayed here.
Another interesting thing to note would be the evolution of interracial interaction in the movie. While any other script would have taken the opportunity to exploit the potential (and incredibly overused) humour in the conflict of cultural backgrounds of the lead characters, all acknowledgement of their racial differences is reduced to a single throw away one-liner that feels less scripted and more like Hart just being Hart.
Perhaps we’ve begun to reach a point in entertainment where characters can just be characters without the audience having to be reminded “Hey, the white man is hanging out with the black man and this is incredibly funny for some reason that belongs in the 18th century!”
While the movie largely does right by most of the characters, it still falls victim to some of the traditional romcom tropes.
Kaley Cuoco’s Gretchen Palmer begins as a sweet, if not slightly high-strung, fiancée to Josh Gad’s insecure geek-cum-businessman, only to quickly devolve into a the typical pretty-bitch type that I shan’t further describe lest I spoil the movie’s “twist ending.” (Hint: it’s not really a twist.)
A greater sin lies in the sidelining of Olivia Thirlby. What could have been an interesting addition to the heavily testosterone-fuelled lineup is ignored in favour of her being the conveniently placed (and just as easily forgotten) sister to the bride.
Flaws aside, The Wedding Ringer stands as a great option for an opening comedy of the year. I’d be pretty happy if the rest of 2015’s (romantic) comedies possess even half of this movie’s charm.