Jeremy: "Someday you'll look back on all this and laugh and say we were young and stupid." John: "We're not THAT young." And with these prophetic words divorce mediators John Beckwith (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn)--lifelong friends whose hobby it is to crash weddings get laid and never look back--embark on a journey of self-discovery. Well maybe not a journey exactly more like a weekend of debauchery. And maybe not self-discovery per se more a realization falling in love isn't such a bad thing. It all starts when the charismatic and charming duo crash the social event of the year the wedding of Treasury Secretary William Cleary's (Christopher Walken) daughter. They stick to the Crashers Code at first setting their sights on two bridesmaids Claire (Rachel McAdams) and Gloria (Isla Fisher) Cleary creating clever back stories and becoming the hit of the lavish party. But while Jeremy is going about business as usual with the curiously randy Gloria John is uncharacteristically falling hard and fast for the whip-smart and beautiful Claire. John eventually persuades a resistant Jeremy to bend the crashing rules and accept an invitation to an extended weekend party at the Cleary family compound. Uh oh. Once at the palatial waterfront estate the dysfunctional members of the Cleary family put the guys through the wringer. It would be enough to send any confirmed bachelor running--except John really likes Claire and wants to make it work. And Jeremy as he tells John just wants to "ice my balls and spit up blood."
There must be some kind of osmosis thing that happens when the Frat Packers mix it up. Of course I'm talking about the comedic talents of Vaughn Wilson his brother Luke Wilson Ben Stiller and Will Ferrell who just keep churning out one hilarious film--Old School Dodgeball Starsky & Hutch--after another in various tag-team combinations. The Wedding Crashers is no exception. Although it's actually Vaughn and Wilson's first real screen time together (if you don't count Starsky & Hutch) you'd swear they've been working together for years making them the best Frat Pack combo yet. Their diverse comedy styles--Vaughn's rapid-fire delivery Wilson's slow burn--complement each other perfectly. Like Vaughn's character explains in Swingers these guys are "in the rated-R movie…the guy[s] you're not sure whether or not you like yet. You're not sure where [they] are coming from." Vaughn and Wilson also share the wealth with their supporting cast. The lovely McAdams (Mean Girls The Notebook) continues to show her range as Claire and she very sweetly holds her own amidst the calamity. Walken is also particularly entertaining as the elder Cleary who's funny without ever trying to be. But the true scene stealer is Aussie actress Fisher (Scooby-Doo) as the youngest Cleary daughter an obsessive "Stage 5" clinger and nymphomaniac. "Don't ever leave me 'cause I'd find you!" she giggles to Jeremy with a wild look in her eyes. Yikes. Fisher goes full tilt playing the one woman who can truly give Jeremy a taste of his own medicine. Wild and wacky stuff.
Director David Dobkin likes to try his hand at different genres. He first worked with Vince Vaughn in the serious-minded serial killer flick Clay Pigeons and then worked with Owen Wilson in the action-packed but lighthearted sequel Shanghai Knights. Now Dobkin has got the both of them in a balls-out comedy--and handles the chores with aplomb even if all the director has to do is turn on the camera and point it at his stars. From the moment we see Jeremy and John crashing a variety of ethnic weddings (Jewish Hindu Chinese) to their escapades at the Cleary home Wedding Crashers will simply split your sides and make you spit out your Coke. You're probably going to see it a few more times just so you can pick up stuff you might have missed while laughing so hard. The only problem is how to end it. Granted we are dealing with in essence a romantic comedy so you know there's got to be some sort of happy resolution. We'll accept that. But the film seems to lose some steam and turns predictable once the guys leave the Clearys. The last 10 minutes--save for a memorable cameo from a fellow Frat Packer (and I won't tell you who)--drag on a bit. Still it doesn't completely take away from the good time you've been having.
February 18, 2003 10:38am EST
At the tender age of 12 Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck) was splashed in the eyes with radioactive waste and lost his sight--but his other four senses developed with superhuman sharpness. He grew up to become a bleeding-heart lawyer running a law practice with his best friend Foggy Nelson (Jon Favreau) and chasing beautiful women including the bright and fearless Elektra Natchios (Jennifer Garner). By night he is the masked vigilante Daredevil using his incredible senses and abilities to defend the downtrodden in New York City's Hell's Kitchen. Daredevil the movie stays true to all the elements that are pervasive in the Marvel Universe: drama love action violence revenge a spiteful police department and best of all the probing reporter on a quest for the truth. Here moviegoers will become familiar with events that become catalysts in Daredevil's crime-fighting career including the death of his father (David Keith) at the hands of the mob and the victimization of those close to him. The villainous underworld figure Wilson Fisk a.k.a. Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan) and his hired hand the psychotic killer Bullseye (Colin Farrell) are also introduced as Daredevil's foes--and the battle between good and evil is born in this gritty urban borough.
Daredevil's appeal is that he does not possess any superpowers which made Affleck (Sum of All Fears) a good choice to portray this rather vulnerable crime fighter. While he beefed up for the role Affleck still retains that guy-next-door quality that makes both Murdock and Daredevil so relatable. His love interest in the film Elektra is played by Garner better known as Sydney Bristow on ABC's Alias. Elecktra is as brawny as she is brainy and Garner is the perfect fit for the character: she's gorgeous in a non-Hollywood kind of way and convincing as skilled fighter. Playing Murdock's lifelong friend and partner Foggy Favreau's (Made) role here is the most low-key of the bunch but he delivers some comic relief with some really funny lines. As far as villains go no one could be better suited for the role of Kingpin than the larger-than-life Duncan (The Scorpion King). This massively muscled character had to be played by someone with a powerful presence and sophisticated intellect making Duncan the ideal candidate. Rounding out the malefactors is Farrell (The Recruit) who churns out a powerful performance as the psychotic killer Bullseye complete with the nervous twitches and shifty eyes.
The decision to place Mark Steven Johnson at the helm of Daredevil was a little surprising. His 1998 directorial debut Simon Birch and his screenwriting credits Grumpy Old Men and the astoundingly bad Jack Frost hardly seemed on a par with an action adventure feature like this. The fact that Johnson hasn't worked extensively with digital effects becomes apparent in some of the film's action sequences that include a CGI Daredevil running upside walls and taking giant leaps from rooftop to rooftop. The completely animated version of Daredevil doesn't behave naturally and lacks details such as muscles texture highlights and shadows. But Daredevil didn't have a huge budget (compared to Spider-Man at least) and what it lacked in f/x it made up for with a gripping and gritty story line. Daredevil's mission is to rid Hell's Kitchen--not the universe--of as much crime as he can and his vendettas are personal--and grotesquely violent. More importantly Johnson's screenplay stays true to the comic book characters and their attributes. Fans of the comic book will appreciate his truthful touches such Bullseye's maniacal talents which include being able to turn a paperclip into a deadly weapon and Kingpin's ritualistic removal of his blazer before pounding the snot out of adversaries.