Comedic actor Kevin Hart crosses over to the R-rated comedy territory in Jeremy Garelick‘s The Wedding Ringer, also staring Josh Gad. Hart’s ability to inject any given film with a constant amount of slightly annoying, yet slightly hilarious charm and energy helps keep The Wedding Ringer from sinking into complete mediocre waters. The Wedding Ringer is light, fun and rather tame for an R-rated comedy, yet it still manages to squeeze in many F-bombs and crude humor. Best movie of the year? Heck no, but a decent start to the promising new year.
Doug Harris (Josh Gad) has no friends. He’s a soon-to-be husband that has absolutely no one to call his best pal or even a remotely close buddy. That’s a big problem for him, because his wedding his quickly approaching and his fiance is starting to worry.
Enter loud-mouthed/smooth-talking Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart). His business of profession is simple — he pretends to be your friend at your wedding. In rare instances he calls upon others to help fill in the voids as other groomsmen, which is exactly what Doug needs in these desperate times. He begs Jimmy for help and in exchange Jimmy offers him the best wedding of his life.
But that’s not really the point of Jeremy Garelick‘s The Wedding Ringer. On the surface it’s another loud Kevin Hart comedy, only this time with a much more enjoyable R-rating, which allows Hart to really spread his wings and take the film to an entirely different level. The Wedding Ringer isn’t the raunchiest R-rated comedy to come out this year or last, but it takes advantage of its much more adult-appropriate rating and fuels the film with some truly hilarious gags.
Most of them are soaked in absurd stupidity, but they revolve around good intentions, which makes The Wedding Ringer a rare R-rated comedy with a little bit of heart. Garelick’s ability to channel both Hart and heart helps keep things light and feel-good throughout the entire film, thus creating a film that’s mostly surface-level material that is painless and passable on every level.
Kevin Hart is without a doubt a unique brand that you’re either going to love or hate. There’s just no in between when it comes to his particular brand of humor and The Wedding Ringer never tries to cover up or hide that fact. It boldly embraces Hart’s ability as a comedic actor and it lets him run with it for a majority of the film.
And that’s more than fine, because Hart has what it takes to lead such a film with enough energy and excitement to balance off with Josh Gad‘s mostly straight-faced delivery. The rest of the supporting cast adds enough weirdness to go around, but Hart and Gad’s polar opposite personalities keep The Wedding Ringer on track and running stable until the predictable, but necessary ending that wraps things up almost too perfectly.
Sometimes, a film as harmless and fun as The Wedding Ringer is exactly what’s needed in cinemas at this time of year. All of the Oscar nominated films are currently hogging up all of the spotlight, while studios use January and February to dump the rest of their horror catalog and not quite good enough material from last year onto us, yet The Wedding Ringer pulls through and proves itself as a fine way to kill an hour and a half without feeling too bad about it.
The Wedding Ringer isn’t probably going to be pegged as the funniest film of the year, but it’s definitely one of the better comedies on the market right now and that’s saying a lot considering how dull and dry the past few months of movie-going have been. Hart fans are going to love watching the actor transition to the leading role of an R-rated film, while haters are simply going to continue to hate on the guy and hope that he gets less and less work as his career progresses. I’ve never loved his work by any means, but I do enjoy his occasional outbreak of hilarity and The Wedding Ringer is one of those films that he’s done right and good enough to warrant my matinee dollars.
The Wedding Ringer – 7.5/10