Bursts of audience laughter bellowed through the theater from the moment the reel began to the closing credits in the new Frat Pack film, Wedding Crashers.
The film features two brothers of the fraternal order of hilarious comedies, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, as hard-partying, womanizing 30-somethings that crash unsuspecting weddings as a hobby.
The beginning of the film introduces bachelors John Beckwith (Wilson) and Jeremy Klein (Vaughn). The duo are divorce litigators whose overwhelming charm and mediating skills aid feuding couples in their divorce settlement battles.
Wedding season is about to kick off and the two are about to indulge in their favorite pastime by crashing 17 weddings this season. John and Jeremy’s theory is single women who attend a wedding are more vulnerable and willing to go home with a man they just met while under the spell of new love and a few drinks. Plus, their calculated sympathy stories and outgoing showmanship make them the hit of every fiesta.
Their successful crashing season is shown through a hilarious montage of highlights set to the song “Shout.” The pair does not discriminate. They crash Jewish, Indian, Italian, Irish and Chinese weddings, always managing to pull off their act as a distant relative.
The end of the season brings the “Kentucky Derby” of weddings. The wedding of the daughter of the nation’s secretary of the Treasury William Cleary (Walkin) brings the guys their greatest crash challenge ever. Yet, this wedding poses a new situation as John becomes enamored with one of Cleary’s daughters, Claire (Rachel McAdams). Jeremy does not fare as well, attracting the attention of Gloria (Isla Fisher), Cleary’s youngest and slightly off-kilter daughter.
John’s predicament forces the guys to abandon the “rules” of wedding crashing and extend their stay. The “brothers” manage to make such an impression on the Cleary family that they are invited to stay at their mansion on an island for the weekend. The weekend gives John adequate time to woo Claire and Jeremy time to get into a flurry of awkward situations.
The comedic chemistry between Wilson and Vaughn is undeniably fantastic. Vaughn’s fast-talking quick-witted ways are balanced by Wilson’s laid-back one-liners. An appearance of a fellow “Frat packer” as Chaz Reinhold, the originator of the wedding crash scheme and creator of the “rules,” adds to the perfect cast.
Former Mean Girl, McAdams gives a sweet and sincere performance, making her a new favorite for romantic comedy leads. Newcomer Fisher holds her own against the comedic heavyweights. Walken turns out a typically great performance as the extreme version of a father figure, and a surprisingly unconventional performance comes from former Dr. Quinn, Jane Seymour, as Cleary’s wife, Kathleen. A host of supporting characters add their own comedic flare to the film.
While the other “Frat Pack” films such as Starsky & Hutch and Anchorman walk the line of dirty and crude, Wedding Crashers leaps and bounds over the decency line. The “R” rating allows the film to join the likes of Animal House and Caddyshack as an adult, nudity-laced, foul-mouthed comedy. But that’s what makes it fun. While the film basks in the moments of its dirty brand of comedy, it also manages to explore the idea of love and friendship. Perhaps at points this causes the film to drag and feel a bit recycled, however the cast chemistry more than compensates for any blandness. Wedding Crashers packs more genuine laughs and amazing antics than any other movie this year.
Comedy, R, Running 119 min.