- Street Date:
- December 30th, 2008
- Reviewed by:
- Nate Boss
- Review Date: 1
- August 6th, 2009
- Movie Release Year:
- Warner Home Video
- 128 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Release Country
- United States
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Boy goes to party uninvited. Boy sees hot girl. Boy likes what he sees. Boy wants to get with girl, and lies to do it. Boy gets caught. That may be as basic a premise as you can get, but that's all one needs to do to describe 'Wedding Crashers.' It's genius in it's simplicity.
John Beckwith (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn) are party animals through and through. They love to show up uninvited to the best shindigs out there: weddings. Full of single women they've learned are intoxicated by the scent of commitment, John and Jeremy (or whatever alias they choose to go by) are more than willing to breathe life into the events, and into the sex lives of the single ladies present.
After a successful wedding "season" (much like that of any sport), the guys catch wind of the mother of all events coming to their native Washington, D.C. stomping grounds: the wedding of the daughter of Treasury Secretary William Cleary (Christopher Walken). John and Jeremy must bring their A game, but they may meet their respective matches in the sisters of the bride, the charming yet taken Claire (Rachel McAdams), and the spoiled, possibly psychotic Gloria (Isla Fisher). While results may vary from crasher to crasher, laughter is sure to be constant and consistent.
'Wedding Crashers' doesn't want to make John and Jeremy seem like total scum, as that would be too easy. It wants the audience to like, even love, these shallow lovers of a good time. That's a tough predicament, as early in the film with both crashers, as well as late with John, we are shown men living lies to rub up on women's thighs. They may enjoy themselves at the receptions, and bring a level of liveliness with them, but it's all for the purpose of getting some, so how does a film with such a negative, dishonest premise make its protagonists seem lovable, rather than just selfish douches?
No, casting Owen Wilson isn't the answer to that one, as that's like trying to save a man from electrocuting by throwing water at his feet. The chemistry between Vaughn and Wilson helps bring the audience in on the laughs, as does a unoriginal, but still enjoyable script that lobs enjoyable scenario after scenario in quick succession. Having nothing but success wouldn't be funny, so watching John and Jeremy get caught in their lies and the holes in their stories is a real blast. While a less-than-heterosexual encounter seems a bit forced and unfunny, the entire film seems to embody the dirtiest of thoughts from a mind that found its home in the gutter long ago. And I'm thankful for that.
I suppose the real answer to the mystery of why this film was so successful would lie in the power of the cowbell, and by that, of course, I mean Walken. The man has turned into a comedic legend of late (though it's best to forget 'Balls of Fury' exists as a whole), and his deadpan performance here steals scene after scene. We care more for what he'll say or do than for our main characters, which is both a good and bad thing.
A surprise runaway success when it hit theaters, 'Wedding Crashers' toes the line ever so nicely (though, sadly, the "uncorked" version of the film obliterates that line, ruining some of the gags), crafting a rarity: a buddy comedy mixed with a romantic comedy, where every character involved is properly fleshed out and realized. An even greater rarity comes by way of an amazingly high replay value. 'Wedding Crashers' will charm from the first viewing, and it won't lose its luster in the repeat trips to the altar.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Both versions of 'Wedding Crashers' are presented with VC-1 encodes that leave a bit to be desired.
The entire film has a bit of an inconsistent feel. __________ can go from sharp and rich, to flat and dull. You can fill in that blank with the words: black levels, contrast, or detail, as they all jump back and forth, like a crasher who couldn't decide between a blonde or a redhead. The film also can't decide if it wants to be two dimensional or three. The backgrounds can be a fuzzy, blurred undefined mess, which doesn't help matters.
You know what else doesn't help? The fact that DNR is a likely culprit, creating waxy facial features that just don't look right, and lack that bit of finer definition. Small bits of white dirt blot the image. The fact that this Blu-ray boasts some authentic (yet ranged) skin tones, and an array of colors, is somewhat wasted by the technical deficiencies that mar the image.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
No matter which cut you pick, 'Wedding Crashers' defaults to a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. With the film starting automatically after deciding which version to play, one must remember to access the menu and swap the audio for the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix.
Lossless or not, though, 'Wedding Crashers' is a bit on the thin side when it comes to the audio. The film is dialogue driven, like almost any other comedy, but the spoken word isn't always prioritized in the mix, as the score can, at times, surpass it at random. The dialogue does take center stage over the atmospheric noises, including some very busy party sequences, but that doesn't solve that other little problem.
Rears are mostly utilized for score, and some faint seeping from the music at parties. Ambiance can be a bit less than discrete, sometimes knock you over the head obvious, and a bit too loud compared to the rest of the film. Throw in a bass level that would rather be kicking back a few cold ones than thumping to the music, and you have yourself a real mess when you consider the other deficiencies in the audio. As a buddy comedy, one cannot expect too much out of the sound design, but 'Wedding Crashers' does fall a bit short of even lowered expectations.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
- Multiple Cuts of the Film - This Blu-ray edition of 'Wedding Crashers' includes both the rated and unrated versions.
- Audio Commentary - With director David Dobkin. Dobkin discusses his original ideas for the score, analogies in the film, his views on the actors and their performances, and his casting desires. He goes into length on his favorite lines and scenes, and sings praise for the performances at every turn. If you're looking for the lamest drinking game ever (any drinking game involving an audio commentary is pretty damn lame), down a shot every time Dobkin says he loves something or finds it funny. You'll die of alcohol poisoning, for sure. This is a descriptive track, on how he feels about certain scenes, rather than giving behind the scenes anecdotes.
- Audio Commentary - With Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. Vince introduces the commentary as being for the DVD early in (whoops!). Vince discusses Jon Favreau inspiring a few lines (for example, the "just the tip, just for a second, just to see how it feels" line), adding that he feels the wedding sequences were done right by his opinion, as the characters add to the fun of the events, rather than just trying to steal the women. He is also first to comment on how fun it was to shoot the shots throwing the topless women down on the bed (for this unrated version). The pair have a lively back and forth, as they do have very good chemistry with each other. They go on to discuss their childhood indiscretions at school, the filming locations, and more. A fast moving track.
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 7 min) - With optional commentary by director David Dobkin. Some Christopher Walken goodness, more Vaughn and Wilson little interactions, and a throwaway scene involving the duo performing karaoke during a reception quite badly. It's a good thing these scenes were not put into the film.
- Event Planning (SD, 11 min) - A look at the first week of shooting, which involved five different weddings to crash. This feature covers the organizing for these scenes so they aren't redundant/repetitive. Costume design is looked into (each wedding must look different!), balloon animal blowing training is checked out, as is why the characters even like weddings (not counting the women). Rounding out the feature is a look at the chemistry between Wilson and Vaughn.
- The Rules of Wedding Crashing (SD, 7 min) - Wilson and Vaughn discuss the rules their characters play by. From how they get to the party, to how they act during and after, this feature is fun for fans of the film, but even they may consider it a bit of a waste.
- Music Video (SD, 3 min) - The Sights: Circus. A fairly random, silly little video of no consequence. Filler, basically.
- Trailers - Both the teaser (SD, 1 min) and theatrical (SD, 2 min) trailers round out the supplement section of the disc.
'Wedding Crashers' is that little train that could, a comedy that came out of nowhere to be a smash hit. It doesn't lose steam on repeat viewings, and can still make me laugh every now and again. It does fall apart a bit at the end, but a certain surprise cameo gives the free fall a lifesaving parachute. With video and audio qualities that are a bit less than one would hope for, it's tough to recommend this disc, but on the strength of the film alone, this one is worth checking out.
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- BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc
- Region Free
- English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
- English Dolby Digital 5.1
- Audio Commentaries
- Deleted Scenes
- Music Video
- Theatrical Trailer