'Wedding Ringer' wastes Kevin Hart
'The Wedding Ringer" has one of those only-in-the-movies premises — a friendless guy has to hire a best man to stand up in his upcoming wedding — that makes so little sense it should have been shot down in the pitch process.
And yet the premise is the least of this loud, obnoxious and unfunny bromantic comedy's problems. "The Wedding Ringer" is charmless and crass, a shallow misfire that wastes the many talents of its star, Kevin Hart.
Hart stars as Jimmy Callahan, a best-man-for-hire whose services are called upon by Doug Harris (Josh Gad). Harris is getting married in 10 days, and the fact that his bride-to-be (a shrill Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) has never met a single friend of his during the course of their relationship has apparently never raised a red flag.
Harris needs not only a best man, but an entire wedding party, a full-service package Callahan refers to as the "Golden Tux." So he rounds up a crew of misfits that looks like "the cast of 'Goonies' grew up and became rapists," as they're described in one of the movie's few good lines. Hamhanded lessons about friendship and male bonding ensue, passed on with the grace of a grandmother being set on fire, one example of the movie's attempts at humor.
Even as the movie sputters out of control — there's a police chase, an overly aggressive football sequence and a gross-out sex gag involving a Basset Hound — Hart is laser-focused and in-the-moment, and is consistently better than everything around him. He and Gad have the makings of a Will Smith and Kevin James in "Hitch" thing going on, but the script doesn't allow them to explore that dynamic. Rather, it's stuck in nonsenseland, dumbed down for an audience that should know better than to RSVP for this "Wedding."
'The Wedding Ringer'
Rated R for crude and sexual content, language throughout, some drug use and brief graphic nudity
Running time: 101 minutes