Wedding Crashers

The best comedies make us laugh at what we fear.
Wedding Crashers is about two grown men stuck between middle age and childhood, aging Peter Pans who have made an adolescent gag – crashing weddings to meet women – into a lifestyle.
John Beckwith (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn) are fast-talking divorce mediators, lawyers who can lay it on thick to sell a deal between warring ex-lovers. When they aren’t trying to make peace between couples who have fallen out of love they crash weddings, hamming it up to get the attention of women who are already in a matrimonially aroused state and ready for love.
Their elaborate system of deceit includes back-stories, gimmicky parlor tricks to amuse children and other acts of subtle seduction. They’re masters of the discourse of weddings, know all the religious rituals by heart, and can spot vulnerable women from a mile away. Less cruel scoundrels than likable rascals, John and Jeremy seem at least as interested in the convention of weddings – their familiar games, food, and familial associations – as bedding hot women.
After an unsatisfying encounter with one of his trophies, John confides to Jeremy that the game has gotten stale, crashing wedding to seduce women just doesn’t seem as exciting as it once did. Jeremy disagrees, saying that when they get older they’ll appreciate the bravado and nerve of these youthful acts. “Yeah, but we’re really not so young anymore,” John says.
It’s revealing moments like these that makes Wedding Crashers such a sweet and heartfelt comedy, even when it veers slightly off course and flirts with the absurd. The inevitable, irresistible pull of the plot is also kept in line by great performances by Wilson and Vaughn, who shine as lifelong friends who discover almost against their wills that they’ve grown-up.
When the boys crash the wedding of the daughter of Treasury Secretary William Cleary (Christopher Walken), John falls for a bridesmaid, Claire (Rachel McAdams), Cleary’s other daughter. Using familiar techniques to seduce Claire, John begins feeling the depth of his betrayal. Just when he feels closest to her she introduces him to her jerk fiancé Sack (Bradley Cooper), an Ivy League asshole of the worst order. 
Meanwhile Jeremy has set his sights on the secretary’s youngest daughter, Gloria (Isla Fisher), winning her before the last song at the reception. Gloria, however, proves hotter to handle than Jeremy expected, and he begs John to cut out early. John needs more time with Claire, either to really work the sham or to come clean, it’s not entirely certain which he’s choose.
John reluctantly agrees and the boys head to the Cleary family mansion for the weekend, where they get close with the rest of the family, including a cranky grandmother and a creepy homosexual brother who fancies himself a tortured artist. A game of touch football turns ugly when Sack lets his competitiveness collide with Jeremy’s six-foot-five frame over and over again, but Claire and John’s romance blossoms on the sidelines.                                                                                                       
On a beach walk he almost gives himself away to her, tells her he’s been living an inauthentic life and he hopes that there’s greatness inside of him. It’s a revealing moment, and only Wilson could pull it off with his odd mixture of sincerity and blinking stupidity.
At times Wedding Crashers comes dangerously close to being crass in a Something About Mary way, but even these moments come around in the end. We forgive the weird brother, the horny mother, the off-color and sometimes unfunny humor, even the ridiculous semi-nude portrait of Vaughn because we know these characters, see them in our own lives, and they allow us license to laugh at ourselves.
Wedding Crashers is really about social alienation and the improbability of connecting to one another, even at weddings (occasionally even between those getting married), and we know that feeling too well in ourselves not to need to laugh it away.


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