Looking back, can you think of any movie that continues to resonate years after initial release? In light of recent rumors regarding a potential sequel, I went back and rewatched Wedding Crashers. Simply put, all the comedy gags hold up just as well as they did back in 2005, and then some…
The plot centers on two divorce mediators, played by Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, whose side business involves crashing weddings in order to get laid. Early on in the film, they attend the ceremony for the daughter of the Secretary of the Treasury (Christopher Walken). As luck would have it, they meet and fall for the bride’s two sisters (Rachel McAdams and Isla Fisher). All manner of hilarity ensues when they’re invited to the family house, where their gimmicks prove no match for what is to come.
Prior to my first viewing, I was only vaguely aware of Wilson and Vaughn as actors. Both have amazing chemistry in Wedding Crashers and are consistently funny throughout. McAdams, whom I’d only seen in Red Eye, was a major revelation in this film. Isla Fisher perfectly portrays the neurotic sister who’s infatuated with Vaughn, but admittedly she can be a little too much to handle at times. Most of the humor comes from his reactions to the situation (the dinner table scene is pure gold).
As far as comedy goes, the sequence that stands out the most is one where a helpless Vaughn gets unexpected visits from various members of the family while bound in his bed at nighttime. Some viewers found it borderline tasteless, but it’s really an example of perfect casting. Had it been anyone else in the role, the gag just wouldn’t work. As for Wilson, the bit where he’s ambushed by the Secretary’s wife, and then has to force his way out with an awkward gesture, is another example. Of the two leads, Wilson has the more grounded role, but the genius of his timing makes it impossible to imagine anyone else pulling through this scene.
It is Wilson's relationship with McAdams is where the story really takes flight; and it’s the one aspect that I’ve grown to appreciate more over time. While the reception towards Wedding Crashers was mostly positive upon release, several viewers claimed that the film, through the lens of its male characters, was chauvinistic. Though understandable, I would argue, however, that the film doesn’t celebrate that. When Wilson first locks eyes on McAdams, his approach appears to be no different than before. Complications arise when it’s revealed that she already has a boyfriend (Bradley Cooper at his most over-the-top), but that doesn’t discourage Wilson from pursuing some form of relationship with her. When they finally connect, he realizes that she’s unlike any woman he’s ever been with; smart, funny, and kind. This forces him to rethink his entire philosophy, putting him on the path of self-discovery and atonement. Such journey applies to both Wilson and Vaughn, but it’s the former that has to overcome the most obstacles.
If you haven’t seen Wedding Crashers, I highly recommend it. It’s a perfect mix of edgy comedy and heart-felt drama that holds up just as well as it did in the mid-2000s. As for the sequel talks, I’m both excited and skeptical. As much as I really want to see these actors do more work together, the 2005 film doesn’t really need a continuation. Having said that, there’ve been plenty of unexpected sequels that’ve proven me wrong. With luck, Wedding Crashers 2 may exceed the original in one or two ways.