UK Release Date: 20th February 2015
Runtime: 101 minutes
Director: Jeremy Garelick
Writer: Jeremy Garelick, Jay Lavender
Starring: Josh Gad, Kevin Hart, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Jorge Garcia, Olivia Thirlby, Nicky Whelan
Synopsis: A socially awkward loner, stressed out about his upcoming wedding, hires a charismatic ringer to act as his best man at the ceremony.
Schlubby loner meets charismatic extrovert is a tried and tested formula for big screen comedy. The Wedding Ringer, starring squeaky-voiced phenomenon Kevin Hart, is the latest attempt to cash in on the formula, with the added appeal of everyone’s favourite singing snowman Josh Gad. It’s the kind of idea that probably looked really good on paper.
Doug (Gad) is excitedly preparing for his wedding to Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting). There’s only one hitch – he doesn’t have any friends. Desperate, he hires Jimmy (Hart), who runs a business in which he sells his best man services to lonely men. It’s a big task, especially when Gretchen’s inquisitive sister (Olivia Thirlby) begins to suspect foul play.
The Wedding Ringer is an entirely laugh-free zone. By the time the first scene culminates in an overweight person falling over, it becomes pretty clear that the film is going to be a pretty tough experience. But nothing could prepare you for just how excruciatingly laugh-free the subsequent 90 minutes are.
| "I want my real life to be as fun as the one I made up."
The worst casualty of the film is Josh Gad, who comes into The Wedding Ringer with a tonne of goodwill after his voice performance as the instantly iconic Olaf in Frozen. Here, though, his character is written as a shoddy amalgamation of Jonah Hill and Kevin James. It’s very difficult to warm to Gad, given that the script gives his character nothing in the way of sympathetic nuances.
It says a lot about the deficiencies of The Wedding Ringer that the consistently irritating – and infuriatingly ubiquitous – Kevin Hart is by far the most well-rounded character in the film. He at least gets a modicum of development, whilst Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting is given an utterly thankless pampered princess role.
Paper-thin characterisation in a broad comedy film can be forgiven, but The Wedding Ringer commits a far worse sin – it isn’t funny. The jokes are about weight, genitals and weed, with very little variation or originality. By the time they start throwing prison rape into the equation, there’s very little chance of the film redeeming itself.
| "God created the world in seven days. We gotta do a whole lot more in a lot less time."
Watching The Wedding Ringer is a difficult experience, with it often feeling like an endurance test. There’s nothing of interest in the story and the plot reliably hits every generic beat. By the time you factor in the shocking unpleasantness of some of the humour, you have the recipe for what is, thus far, one of the worst films of 2015.
Pop or Poop?
Boasting almost nothing in the way of laughs, The Wedding Ringer is a film you’ll immediately want to divorce.
Kevin Hart continues to take roles in dreadful comedy movies, whilst likeable stars Josh Gad and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting go a long way to erode as much of their goodwill as possible.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.