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The Wedding Crashers

The Wedding Crashers is a hoot. If you can bear the combined cute smart-aleckiness of Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and - oh, no! - Will Ferrell, you will not be disappointed by this comedy, which takes many slightly unexpected turns before reaching its romantic finale. And you will probably find that Rachel McAdams has never looked lovelier.

John (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) crash weddings for fun and sex. That is, they crash weddings to pick up girls, but they enjoy themselves hugely at the receptions. The basic idea is to postpone maturity indefinitely, and Jeremy possesses the self-discipline required to make this possible. He gathers up enough information about all the brides and grooms and their families to present himself and John as plausible invitees, no matter what the couple's background might be. The sequence of revels, shouts and seductions that shows John and Jeremy at play is one of the best put-together bits of film that I've ever seen.

John, however, is beginning to feel "not that young." Complaining of sore feet and other ailments, he unsuccessfully tries to beg off accompanying Jeremy to the biggest wedding of the season, that of the Treasury Secretary's daughter. The Treasury Secretary (Christopher Walken, more stunned-seeming than usual) has an unfaithful wife (Jane Seymour), a very strange son (Keir O'Donnell), and three daughters, two of whom, of course, are not getting married just now. These are Claire (Rachel McAdams) and Gloria (Isla Fisher), and they will be united with John and Jeremy. That much is clear before the reception is anywhere near over. But the screenplay (credited to Steve Faber and Bob Fisher) sprinkles plenty of funny complications in our heroes' path. It also confronts them with Claire's ever-nastier boyfriend, Sack (Bradley Cooper), catering to the guilty pleasure of giving us a character to hate. Needless to say, when Claire discovers that John is not who he says he is, she refuses to give him a chance to explain that she has changed him into a man yearning for love.

The Wedding Crashers, directed by David Dobkins, is light on grounding. John and Jeremy are partners who seem to be lawyers and who seem to specialize in mediating marital disputes, but this is never clarified and after the first scene we never see them at work again. In the third act, the heartbroken John appears to take an extended leave of absence, but this is never clarified, either. Pinning down the characters' connection to the real world might have made for a better picture, but it also might have bogged down the romance and taken the sparkle off the many funny details. It is difficult to quibble with such a frankly elating film. Although there are a few moments when the story threatens to take a brooding turn that would kill it comic momentum, Mr Dobkin keeps the proceedings on track, and ends his film on the same gleefully surprising note with which it began - no small trick.

For all the escapism of this movie, there may be a militant honesty about it. Vince Vaughn is a head taller than Owen Wilson, and no attempt is made to disguise it. I was impressed. Guys don't have to be equally tall to be buddies! What a liberation!

¶ Walla-walla bing-bang: What do I discover upon rising from the couch of slumber? What online novelty does Aurora have in her backpack this morning? Well, nothing less than an Iron Blogger review-off! A complete co-inkydink! You will find a few remarks on The Wedding Crashers at kottke.org. I'm pretty sure that I posted first.


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