Fake Slackers Have Fun with Movie

2005 08/12

A review of Wedding Crashers. (It’s good.)

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn play the titular roles.Wedding Crashers features funny-men Owen Wilson (co-writer of Bottle Rocket and Rushmore) and Vince Vaughn (whatever) as two adorable, but directionless slackers who specialize in picking up women at weddings. Recruited to crash one last wedding before the season ends, both find women who are more than a fling and learn a valuable lesson about life. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn are completely unleashed on what would be an average comedy, chewing up the scenery, the script and everything else in sight.

Through all my experience in the film distribution business (working at a videostore) I’ve learned to deal in genres. I love the over simplification and generalizations that occur, and the formulaic nature of Hollywood certainly lends itself to this form of description. Wedding Crashers is a comedy. But sometimes normal genre descriptions are not enough. For instance, there are a number of different kinds of comedy. There are comedies that aren’t funny, yet don’t seem to belong in the drama section, and there are light dramas with funny moments that are mistakenly categorized as comedies. There are mockumentaries, satires, children’s humor, unintentionally funny movies, and more. Of this brand of more obsessive compulsive genrification, Wedding Crashers is a “fake slacker comedy” and a “gosh, aren’t movies fun movie”.

The fake slacker comedy: This is one of my favorite kinds of movies. Here characters purported to be ne’er do wells provide giggles through their hilarious hi-jinx, which, though colorful, do not technically represent “slackery” (Slackage? Slackhood? I like slackery) because they are clearly the result of hard work. Wedding Crashers falls victim to this phenomenon. Not only do Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson meticulously research the weddings they crash, but both men are so charismatic there is little reason that either of these characters actually needs to crash weddings to pick up women. This renders the actual slacking activity extraneous.

The gosh, aren’t movies fun movie: One of the things people often say about Jackie Chan movies is that the outtakes are the best part. That is because of this phenomenon. You see, a movie doesn’t actually have to be funny to make you laugh if the people making it look like they’re having fun. This makes you WANT to laugh. If you want to, you will, whether it’s actually funny or not. The idea that movies are fun to make is the last great Hollywood lie. Movies are excruciatingly difficult 14-18 hour a day affairs 6-7 days a week for several months straight. And yet people love to believe that their favorite Hollywood stars have a ball everyday at work. And it’s in this aspect that Wedding Crashers excels. The genuine laughs are magnified by this effect.

Wedding Crashers falls into these categories, but make no mistake, it’s very enjoyable. The twists all come where you expect them to, and it has the requisite scenes of Owen Wilson walking around heart-broken while sad music plays. But hey, you see comedies for the plots like you see mysteries for the jokes. Enjoy.

Originally written under the name Bob Genghis Khan for The Outlet.
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