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Thursday, July 14, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Movie Review

Vaughn, Wilson left at altar of mediocrity in "Wedding Crashers"

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review 2 stars


Showtimes and trailer

"Wedding Crashers," with Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Christopher Walken, Rachel McAdams, Isla Fisher, Jane Seymour. Directed by David Dobkin, from a screenplay by Steve Faber and Bob Fisher. Rated R for sexual content/nudity and language. 119 minutes. Several theaters.

Those busy pondering the Great Box-Office Slump of 2005 (now officially the most overreported story of the year) will have lots of fun analyzing "Wedding Crashers," an inexcusably inept comedy that should continue to keep the multiplexes quiet. There's no reason why this movie shouldn't have worked: it's got a funny premise, a talented cast and an obviously lavish budget. But it lands without even a crash; just a dull, unfunny thud. It takes work to make Owen Wilson not funny, so at least director David Dobkin has accomplished something.

Wilson, looking exceptionally tanned and blond, and Vince Vaughn star as John and Jeremy, a pair of overgrown boys in suits. They're actually thirtysomething divorce mediators who share a long friendship and a hobby: crashing weddings in order to meet women. And they're very good at it, having learned to blend in, give charming speeches, entertain kids, dance with grandmas, lead a crowd in singing "Shout," and more often than not, snare a pretty bridesmaid.

After a few preliminaries, the film kicks off with a goofy montage of John and Jeremy having a ball at a cross-section of weddings. It's bouncy and fun, and you settle in with your popcorn and your hopes. Then — thud. Enter the well-connected Cleary family, who are extremely rich and have a lot of good-looking daughters. Our boys attend a Cleary wedding, schmooze the bridesmaids and find themselves heading off to the Cleary compound for the weekend, a waterfront home just a tiny bit smaller than Scarlett O'Hara's Tara.

And then, well, the movie just goes on, for much longer than it should, with annoying preppies and flirtatious mothers (poor Jane Seymour) and libidinous virgins and mismatched couples who eventually get sorted out. And, unless you enjoy watching a parade of lavishly decorated bedrooms, it's a whole lot of nothing.

The peppy Vaughn, who talks like a speeded-up teletype machine, and laid-back Wilson should have made a charming comic team, but they've got nothing to do, other than repeatedly observe that they're a little old for this. And Dobkin needs to learn a few things about pace; his movie's slower than a wedding processional.

A few sparks come from squiggly-voiced newcomer Isla Fisher, who brings a gleam to the eye of bridesmaid Gloria Cleary that's both angelic and diabolical. But ultimately, even Christopher Walken (as the Cleary patriarch) fades into the expensive-looking woodwork. With the potential of this cast, "Wedding Crashers" is a major disappointment; not even bad enough to be enjoyable trash. Watching it, you feel as if you crashed a big, exciting-looking party, only to find that nobody was there.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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