Right on time to remind everyone that not all movies are created for awards comes The Wedding Ringer, an affably crude bromantic comedy with an appealing set of bros.
Kevin Hart, the speediest mouth in movies, stars as Jimmy Callahan, running a high-end business supplying best man talents to strangers in need. Nobody is needier than Doug Harris, a marshmallow played by Josh Gad, who voiced the snowman in Frozen but don't tell the kids because then they'll want to see The Wedding Ringer and that could get really awkward, with the bachelor party and the dog and the peanut butter. … Awkward.
Somehow Doug got Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) to marry him, despite having nothing in common and never meeting his friends. Doug doesn't have any despite being so lovable, and apparently successful enough to hire Jimmy. You have to go with a lot in Jeremy Garelick's movie to get to the good parts and the bad, which are just as many.
First the good: Hart and Gad are a great pairing of sweetness and spice, each blending into the other by the happy ending. Jimmy will lie on a dime and keep the change. Doug will just reach into his sad sack for another. Jimmy's rule against making friends of clients will of course be broken, so it comes down to whether Hart and Gad make it credible, and they do.
It happens through a procession of male bonding rituals. The funniest are Doug and Jimmy's endearing dance routine making no sense of how or why it happens, and anything to do with the motley crew Jimmy recruits as Doug's ushers.
The worst of The Wedding Ringer is an ugly, overlong football challenge to Gretchen's father and some ex-NFL friends (there's Broadway Joe!). Garelick's male-centric script, co-written with Jay Lavender, also doesn't have much for women to do except make demands (Cuoco-Sweeting), show concern (Mimi Rogers), be set on fire (Cloris Leachman) or look hot (pick your starlet).
The Wedding Ringer is Hart's fifth collaboration with producer and St. Petersburg native Will Packer, seeming assured of being their next box office hit, with Ride Along 2 on the way. Somewhere down the line, we should see Hart and Gad together again.
Contact Steve Persall at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall.