Magazine article Variety

Bachelor Buds Make a Good 'Wedding' Pair

Magazine article Variety

Bachelor Buds Make a Good 'Wedding' Pair

Article excerpt

Bachelor Buds Make a Good 'Wedding' Pair

The sweet-and-salty chemistry of Josh Gad and Kevin Hart is good for a few yuks in "The Wedding Ringer," a well-cast but clumsily assembled buddy-for-hire comedy that increasingly smacks of desperation as it approaches its big-day climax. It's not that there's anything wrong, in theory, with setting Cloris Leachman on fire or showing a guy getting fellated by a dog, but these and other sub"Hangover" hijinks feel like over-the-top distractions from an otherwise predictably earnest tale of a big-hearted loner in need of some bromance en route to the altar. The ever-popular Hart scored a January 2014 smash with "Ride Along," and if this Screen Gems item doesn't hit quite the same box office sweet spot, it could nevertheless pop a few champagne corks in Sony's beleaguered executive suites.

Hart previously played a best man in last summer's "Think Like a Man Too," and he mercifully embodies a less manic, more toned-down version of that role here. That's because his Jimmy Callahan is a consummate professional - a last resort for those socially inept, testosterone-deficient grooms who don't have enough close guy friends to round out a proper bridal party. Pay Jimmy handsomely enough, and he'll throw you a crazy Vegas weekend, find you a few groomsmen, and give you a best-man toast to remember, crammed with fake tears and made-up memories.

His latest and most difficult client is the nice, likable but improbably friendless Doug Harris (Gad), who's desperate to find a best man just 10 days before his marriage to Gretchen (Kaley CuocoSweeting). Enter Jimmy - or rather, enter Bic Mitchum, Doug's fictitious best friend, a U.S. military priest who's been ministering overseas and has just flown in for the impending nuptials. Gretchen being a spoiled blonde princess with hard-to-please parents (Ken Howard, Mimi Rogers) and no fewer than seven bridesmaids, Jimmy/Bic is also tasked with hiring a bunch of losers and layabouts - including an ex-con (Colin Kane), a hunky doofus (Alan Ritchson) and a guy with three testicles (Aaron Takahashi) - and training them to masquerade as Doug's groomsmen.

The usual adolescent shenanigans ensue, involving all manner of random, highly exaggerated comic violence. …

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