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Chemistry Elevates ‘Wedding Ringer’

TheWeddingRingerPoster            This may mark the first time in a long time I enjoyed a January movie.

“The Wedding Ringer” stars Josh God as a socially awkward groom who hires the owner of a company that provides best men to those in need (Kevin Hart). Jeremy Garelick co-writes and directs.

I’m not the biggest Kevin Hart fan in the world. It’s not that I don’t find him funny, just that his stand-up is pretty one-note and his movies often rely on him yelling and running around (see: his role as a best man in last year’s “Think Like A Man Too”). So it was nice to see Hart a little toned down and sincere in “The Wedding Ringer”, and it aids the film being light and likeable.

Set in Los Angeles, the film has a sense of warmth about it, just like how by the end of the film, Gad maybe begins to warm Hart’s heart (so many plays on words in one sentence). The plot itself isn’t anything revolutionary, but the idea of hiring a best man for your wedding is pretty creative. The moment I saw the trailer and then once every character is introduced, I knew exactly how the film is going to end, but the main goal of the movie was to provide laughs, not M. Night Shyamalan twists.

For the most part, the jokes in “Ringer” work. There is some low-brow humor and some recycled material (“the fat guy broke the table! LOL!”), but there are also some inspired one-liners or mini-monologues from Hart. When everything is coming to a head, the film loses its sense of reality (if it ever had any) so by that point it relies on the comedy and chemistry.

It’s not hysterical, and I won’t remember it in a few months, but in-the-moment I enjoyed myself and at no point did I look at the time. Hart really sells his role and makes you buy the fact that if you needed to rent a best man for your wedding, he’s the guy you would want to fill those shoes (tailor pun?).

Director Garelick seems to know where to put the camera to get the most out a scene, whether it is a tight face shot to capture a reaction or a wide view to see all the chaos unfolding.

“The Wedding Ringer” a breezy comedy that is a more than enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half. Kevin Hart gives probably his most honest performance (whatever that’s worth) and he has some nice comedic moments of bonding with Josh Gad. There will be better comedies in 2015, but there will also be worse comedies (Adam Sandler has his yearly romp due out in July); this one just lands in the middle.

Because I don’t think the review would be complete without it, allow me to conclude with a holy matrimony analogy: “The Wedding Ringer” is like the wedding of the person you knew in college and didn’t attend expecting much and it is a standard ceremony, but thanks to some whacky moments it turns out to be a pretty good time.

Critics Rating: 6/10