Around this time last year we had a different Kevin Hart led comedy “Ride Along”. No, I did not like that film one bit, in fact it made my top 10 worst films of the year. I haven’t actually seen any of Kevin Hart’s stand up, so for all I know he could be the best comedian of all time. Based off what I’ve seen I suppose I am just not a fan. That being said I keep waiting and hoping to see what most everyone else sees. In movies I am optimistic; always hoping for a movie to be good (after all that’s one more movie I can add to my Blu-Ray collection). Despite how “The Wedding Ringer” looked I continued to hold onto that hope I have every time I go to the movies. Still that couldn’t save “The Wedding Ringer”. Even bad comedies have a few good laughs somewhere, I don’t think I laughed once during the entire feature. You can see Kevin Hart and Josh Gad giving it their all and their chemistry seems palpable; but the entire “romantic comedy” (yes I fully believe that’s what this was) fails to his it’s mark nearly every single time.
“The Wedding Ringer” follows a socially awkward guy only weeks away from his wedding to his far more attractive girlfriend, still doesn’t a best man. Not wanting her to think of him as a loser with no friends, he has been lying to her about the “several friends” he already has. To keep up with this lie he gets caught up with a company that will pose as friends and even provide a best man for him.
I knew once I saw the opening scene that the movie I had hoped this film would be, would not be that very movie I desired. It’s the type of scene where our main character can’t seem to get anything to go right for him and then has some sort of physical pain inflicted upon him. Once that physical pain is inflicted upon him the credits roll with ironic upbeat pop music (in this case “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eye Pees). I had to roll my eyes at this trope. I knew then what I was in for and it wasn’t the sort of duo comedy that was advertised, this is a romantic comedy.
Now, it’s not a romantic comedy in the sense that it’s about a guy trying to get the girl. It’s about a guy trying to get a guy… so… it’s a “bromantic comedy”. It follows all the same tropes and clichés as a romantic comedy. A down out of his luck “nice” guy tries to get with the cooler and more successful guy (replace guy with girl and you have the same plotline as every other romantic comedy). At first the “cooler” guy (“The Wedding Ringer” played by Kevin Hart)doesn’t want anything to do with Josh Gad’s character. All he is, is a business transaction to Hart. (Also I don’t have a problem with romantic comedies if they are well made, just to clear that up)
Hart is a business professional; he cuts ties with his customer once the wedding is over and no longer needed to be the best man. Never once has he ever become friends with any of his “customers” yet by the end of the movie you know these two main characters will be best friends (woops spoiler alert). Is there any reason why in particular these two will end up together? Well because the script says so. Oh wait that’s right I forgot about that. There is no buildup or proper development for these two guys to become friends. You have to think Kevin Hart’s character spent as much time with Josh Gad’s character as he did with his other previous customers. Everything always screws up and yet Josh Gad gets to be friends with him? Perhaps I am reading too much into this but just because it’s a silly (“bromantic”) comedy doesn’t mean it can’t have a solid script. “The Wedding Singer” is by all accounts a typical romantic comedy yet that movie works because the script is at least solid to build the movie around.
I think I could forgive all of this if the movie was funny, it just wasn’t. It doesn’t take much for me to laugh. I mean I can get jollies out of “The Interview” (which is a movie that many people disliked) and laugh hard at “llamas With Hats” on Youtube. This just didn’t even get me to chuckle. The pairing between Josh Gad and Kevin Hart seemed like a good match on paper, and they both are clearly giving it everything they’ve got. I can appreciate the effort these actors put on screen because you can tell they are trying (especially Kevin Hart), just none of the jokes land their mark.
I can’t help but feel that this whole movie could be avoided if the characters had a few honest conversations with their spouses. Then again we’d have no movie would we? I wanted to like this movie but I disliked this more than last year’s “Ride Along” and that’s saying something.