REVIEW: The Wedding Ringer

10 05 2015

“I’m really starved for a new Kevin Hart vehicle,” said no one in the year 2015.  But the market gets what it wants, so moviegoers get five Kevin Hart films in fifteen months.  The fourth of these to see release, “The Wedding Ringer,” will likely only feel satisfying for those only getting their first piece of Hart.

This uninspired, unimpressive comedy takes the premise of “I Love You, Man” and somehow manages to make it a dull slog.  Josh Gad, a hilarious physical comedian in his own right, gets neutered of his talents to play the friendless schlub Doug Harris.  With just a week before his wedding to the gorgeous and shallow Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), Doug has unbelievably neglected to procure a single groomsman.  A mistake that big takes him, in our eyes, from lovable loser to indisputable idiot.

Thankfully, their wedding planner steps in and suggests hiring a boutique outfit run by Hart’s Jimmy Callahan: The Best Man, Inc.  For a nice fee, Jimmy can throw together a fake wedding party and successfully fool all the guests into thinking his actors are actually lifelong friends of the groom.  The enormity of Doug’s request, however, hardly provides a proportionate helping of laughs.  Jimmy’s merry band of misfits provides more cringes than laughs, and any hilarity comes with a side order of guilt or shame.

Hart and Gad mostly find themselves reduced to gags about their distinctive body types and voices, a real waste of their considerable comedic gifts.  The lazy scripting from Jeremy Garelick and Jay Lavender certainly gives them no material to help them shine.  When all is said and done, whether “The Wedding Ringer” is a bigger waste of time for its stars or its audience might be the only pressing question raised.  (If you can stick it out until the end, though, fans of TV’s “Lost” will get the last – and biggest – laugh.)  C2stars

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