Doug (Josh Gad) is 10 days away from his wedding to Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) and has not yet managed to find himself a best man. Focused on his career from a young age, Doug never seemed to bond with other men, and in desperation he turns to Jimmy (Kevin Hart) – a man whose sole business is to supply best me to grooms in need – to bail him out.
If you have seen the trailer, or you know anything about the film, it may not surprise you to know that The Wedding Ringer was originally slated to be a vehicle for Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. Instead, Josh Gad decided to follow up his strong turns in Wish I Was Here and Frozen with a return to his awkward comedic roots, and Kevin hart took on yet another overbearing and profane character.
Gad and Hart have carved out their comedy careers in buddy movies such as The Wedding Ringer, and play the roles we would expect from them; awkward and loud, respectively. There is a decent chemistry between the two, however, and there are times when the bromance comes close to working, but never truly clicks. Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting plays a similar character to Penny in The Big Bang Theory, only with added Bridezilla, and the rest of the cast is made up of Jorge Garcia, Alan Ritchson – as a needlessly offensive character – Jenifer Lewis, Mimi Rogers, Olivia Thirlby and Cloris Leachman in a completely mute role – what a waste!
The story, written by Jay Lavender and director Jeremy Garelick, is as you would expect; man is desperate, but believes women are stupid so lies to his bride to be about his lack of friends, and hijinks ensue. The shenanigans are on the verge of being entertaining, but suddenly take a nose-dive into the distasteful, the baffling and the downright daft. Suddenly The Wedding Ringer is nothing more than another one of those gross out bromance movies that we have seen a million and one times; it never reaches the ridiculous levels of the offensive yet hilarious TV show Blue Mountain State, yet never comes back to reality either. The last line, however may be a little desperate, but is a surprising giggle.
Director Jeremy Garelick ramps up the gross-out and the bromantic elements of the film. Women are there to be set on fire, manipulated or objectified… Or to be completely selfish liars, and the men are left to be brainless dude bros whose sole motivations are money and sex. Sigh.
In all, The Wedding Ringer is perhaps exactly what you would expect, and never tries to rise above its goal of being a gross out, unfunny bromance movie. Many of the cast try their best, but seem to be swimming against the tide, and the laughs just never land.