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Non-Review Review: The Wedding Ringer

The bromantic wedding comedy is a fairly reliable comedy subgenre; but it is also one that requires a great deal of care. Producing a comedy about weddings can be something of a minefield; it is very easy to play into the familiar gendered stereotypes the controlling fiancée or the disengaged husband-to-be. The Wedding Ringer is an addition to the rapidly-growing subgenre that focuses on a stereotypically masculine perception of “the big day” – wondering what the groom makes of festivities.

The Wedding Ringer comes packed with awkward gender truisms. At one point, professional best man Jimmy Callahan (head of “TBM – The Best Man Inc.”) is confronted by his assistant Doris Jenkins. Doris explains to Jimmy that male and female relationships work differently; that it is tough for men to acknowledge emotion and to connect with one another. This is perhaps the most dialogue that The Wedding Ringer affords any female character in any one scene.

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“Weddings are for the woman,” Jimmy assures his client, Doug Harris, in one scene. It seems like a stock stereotype that the movie is setting up to subvert – that Jimmy and Doug will eventually learn (in a “knowing is half the battle” sort of way) that marriage is a two-person enterprise that becomes shared at the moment of union. Instead, The Wedding Ringer never shifts its position. The Wedding Ringer sticks to its guns, hitting all the plot beats that one might expect from a movie espousing that philosophy.

Kevin Hart works the material as best he can, and The Wedding Ringer works best when it allows itself to drift from its central premise. However, it is weighed down by a clunky script and a decidedly mean-spirited world-view.

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Non-Review Review: The Internship

When did Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn get so old? The two rose to fame as part of the “frat pack” in the late nineties and the early part of the last decade, with The Internship serving as a reunion eight years after their collaborative effort in The Wedding Crashers. It’s interesting to look at how radically their screen personas have shifted. The Wedding Crashers positioned the two men as teenagers afraid to grow up, while The Internship joins them as two middle-aged men with life experience to share.

There’s a sense that something’s missing here, that we skipped a crucial step in the transition from rogue youngsters to hip uncles. The Internship doesn’t feel reckless or energetic. It feels safe and comfortable. If The Wedding Crashers saw the pair joyriding in a stolen Ferrari, The Internship feels more like a cruise in the family sedan.

A brand new day...

A brand new day…

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