Kevin Hart is the biggest little man on the planet right now. His success is the perfect combination of hard work and perfect timing. He is practically standing alone on the comedy circuit and he shows no sign of slowing down. With the momentum, Hart is taking the full dive into the movie business. Which has been met with mixed success. I’m not exactly sure what attracts comedians to buddy roles, but Kevin Hart is in full buddy mode. He starred alongside Ice Cube last year in Ride Along, and will be pairing with Will Farrell later this year in Get Hard. The wedding ringer is probably his best film to date, and he owes a lot of it to Josh Gad. Their on-screen chemistry is great. Unlike Ice Cube in Ride Along, who amped up Hart’s antics, Josh gad mellows Hart’s formula out.
The Wedding Ringer’s premise is pretty simple. Doug is your stereotypical awkward guy with not many friends, actually… no friends. Some how he seriously out kicks his coverage and lands Gretchen portrayed by Kaley Couco-Sweeting. His wedding is rapidly approaching and he needs to come up with a best man and groomsmen. Jimmy Callahan is a best-man for hire, he’ll provide you with everything you need to fill out your wedding party. There is only one important rule, once it’s all said and done he’s gone. His clients are purchasing a best man, not a best friend.
Doug needs seven groomsmen, a feat so ridiculous it has its own ridiculous nickname “The Golden Tux”. Despite Jimmy’s initial reservations, he decides to take Doug as a client anyway. Jimmy becomes Bic Mitchem, Doug’s friend who has been abroad serving in the army as a priest. Jimmy doesn’t have much time to get Doug’s groomsmen together, and even less time to get them in sync with the personalities he created for them. As you would expect the team runs into their own share of problems including and limited too: rehearsal dinners, bachelor party and more.
I mentioned before how this may be Kevin Hart’s best movie yet. I feel pretty strongly about that. Hart’s brand of comedy comes from making fun of himself and the situations he finds himself in. This is best achieved when he gets surrounded by a lot of diverse talent. It’s why he is so good in Think like a man, but a little over the top in Ride Along. The cast of this movie isn’t award-winning, but most of them have comedic experience and it shows. They play off each other well enough to keep the jokes coming and not feel forced. We don’t get a lot of time to learn about them as characters, which would normally drive me up a wall. However, watching them embrace and learn the back stories of Doug’s groomsmen was even better. You end up learning much more about them pretending to be people they aren’t, It’s a fun ride.
I only really had two problems with the movie and they aren’t major. The plot is 100% predictable and it makes no attempt to deviate from its typical story arc. Jimmy pretends to be everybody’s best man but doesn’t have many close connections of his own. Gretchen is materialistic and you’re not really sure she actually loves Doug, etc. Predictable conflicts arise and are solved just like you expect they would. Lemme be fair, not every movie needs to refine the mold. I’m just being a little critical because I enjoy Kevin Hart so much. Most of his movies to date have been safe. I’m still waiting for him to take it to another level either with the character he chooses or the stories he is trying to tell. Secondly is how much the female cast of this movie isn’t used. Katey Cuoco-Sweeting and Olivia Thirlby are criminally underused, they could have added a lot more to the film than fulfilling some gender stereotypes. Cloris Letchman is literally in the movie to be set on fire. Thats three pretty talented actresses and the film decides to use them as living props.
Inevitably the movie is really about Kevin and Josh’s relationship. Kevin Hart is certainly famous but a lot of people don’t know about Josh Gad. Most of Josh Gad’s accolades come from the theatrical stage and his Tony Award Winning performance for the Book of Mormon. You never know what will work til you try it. Josh Gad plays a very good compliment to the antics of Kevin Hart. It really takes center stage with a very impromptu dance routine that is the highlight of the entire film. Scenes like that that gets me really excited for the future Kevin Hart films in general. We’ll never see that kind of scene with Ice Cube… maybe Will Ferrell, but its great Kevin Hart is diversifying himself by working with different people. It’s ultimately why this film works in the end, its feels like an opening act.