Movie Review - The Wedding Ringer

I wonder if director and co-writer Jeremy Garelick did any kind of research into the problem and subsequent business built to solve the problem proffered in this movie. The problem is that of the two million weddings that occur in the United States every year or so, not every groom has a best man or enough groomsmen to fill out a traditional wedding party, or basically a lot of men don't have best friends. The solution in this movie is for men to hire someone to pretend to be their best man. It's a ridiculous solution because it just piles lie on top of lie instead of going the route of I Love You, Man (2009) and being honest about the situation and exploring the problem in a direct fashion, this movie does what most romantic comedies do and that's have characters perpetuate a falsehood or maintain a charade until the inevitable third-act reveal, only addressing the core issue in a superficial way.

Josh Gad (Frozen and 21) stars as Doug Harris, a wealthy, young man who inherited his father's successful business. When he was younger, he moved around a lot due to his father's work, so he was never able to make friends, or, he simply gave up trying. As a military brat, I can relate, but he was able to meet and fall in love with a beautiful girl named Gretchen, played by Kaley Cuoco, who inexplicably falls for him. He doesn't know why she did, but now they're getting married.

It's a couple of weeks until the big day and the Latino, wedding planner, Edmundo, played by Ignacio Serricchio, notices that the major missing thing is the best man, as well as the groomsmen. Most men would probably have family members fill in as groomsmen, but the movie wants us to believe that in addition to having no friends, Doug also has no family who could fill in. Either this is a gross oversight by the filmmakers or every one, including Gretchen, knows and accepts this. Doug lies to Gretchen saying he does have friends, including a best man, and does so because he says she wouldn't marry him if she knew he had no friends. Logically, however, if she accepts him having no family, why wouldn't she accept him having no friends, especially if he explained his childhood to her?

Despite living with him day in and day out, Gretchen doesn't see through his lies, but Edmundo is able to do so quite easily. Edmundo refers Doug to Jimmy Calahan, played by Kevin Hart (Think Like a Man and Ride Along). His company has Jimmy pretend to be the best man for grooms who don't have one as well as fill out the wedding party with additional groomsmen. There are of course numerous impracticalities inherent aside from the ones that this screenplay heaps on top.

One impracticality is how Jimmy finds his clients. How does Jimmy find his clients? Having Edmundo refer Doug is one way because as it's learned later, Edmundo is a con artist too, but unless every client is like Doug, there's no way Jimmy would get enough referrals to sustain his company. It's not as if Jimmy can market himself on TV or in magazines. His fraud would be exposed. He would need to be in league with every wedding planner in the country or at least every planner in the tri-state area, and even then, I doubt they all would lack the ethics or morality to go along with this level of deception, unless both the bride and groom were in on it, which according to Jimmy doesn't seem to be the case.

Another impracticality is the probability of success. The trick is that Jimmy has to fool everybody, including the bride, that he is the groom's best friend. In the case of Doug, it's easier because apparently Doug has been lying to Gretchen since the beginning about an invented, best friend called Bic Mitchum. Therefore, all Jimmy has to do is assume the already, invented role. Yet, we are to believe that Jimmy has done this countless times before with mostly success every time. How? Again, each client would have to be almost exactly like Doug. I suppose it would be like catfishing where the person being duped has two people working against them, one of which they know, but it just seems incredulous that all these countless brides could be catfished like that. In today's society, a single Google or Facebook search would unravel Jimmy's lies so easily.

One final impracticality is even if we suspend our disbelief and brush aside the other impracticalities and implausibilities here, the movie adds insult to injury and has Jimmy be so completely incompetent. Instead of filling out Doug's wedding party with trained actors who could follow a script or even improv in a way that would help improve the deception, Jimmy hires a bunch of rag tag misfits who couldn't fool a blind and deaf person.

The misfits are there for comedic effect, but none of their shticks generate any laughs. In fact, none of the comic set-pieces generate any laughs. Most of it is actually offensive because the premise is so offensive. The character of Edmundo when he's not being stereotypically gay is being stereotypically Latino.

Going back to the original problem of men who lack best friends, this film could have really explored that, but it would rather have a wiener dog bite a man's actual wiener. It would rather set Cloris Leachman on fire than be intelligent about anything. I Love You, Man is a far better, and funnier film.

One Star out of Five.
Rated R for crude and sexual content, language, some drug use and brief graphic nudity.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 41 mins.


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