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MOVIE INFO

Director:
David Dobkin
Cast:
Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Christopher Walken, Rachel McAdams, Isla Fisher, Jane Seymour, Ellen Albertini Dow, Keir O'Donnell, Bradley Cooper, Ron Canada
Writing Credits:
Steve Faber, Bob Fisher

Tagline:
Life's a Party. Crash It.

Synopsis:
John Beckwith (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn), Washington D.C.'s top divorce mediators and lifelong best friends, have never met a wedding they couldn't charm their way into. Guided by a secret set of "wedding crashing rules," the pair attends a different wedding - and romances different bridesmaids - every week. But, when they crash the social event of the season, John falls for the daughter (Rachel McAdams) of an influential and eccentric politician (Christopher Walken) and decides to break the "rules" in pursuit of her love. What results is a wild weekend at her family's palatial estate where the ultimate "crashers" quickly find themselves in way over their heads!

Box Office:
Budget
$40 million.
Opening Weekend
$33.900 million on 2925 screens.
Domestic Gross
$209.218 million.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 119 min.
Price: $28.99
Release Date: 1/3/2006

Bonus:
• Extended Uncut Version
• Audio Commentary with Director David Dobkin
• Audio Commentary with Actors Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson
• Deleted Scenes
• “Event Planning” Featurette
• “The Rules” Featurette
• “The Rules of Wedding Crashing” Text
• Trailers
• Music Video
• Soundtrack Spot


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RELATED REVIEWS


Wedding Crashers: Uncorked/Unrated (2005)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 30, 2005)

Of all the surprise hits that came out in 2005, Wedding Crashers made the biggest splash. In the tradition of 2002’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding and 1998’s There’s Something About Mary, Crashers emerged from nowhere to become one of the year’s top hits.

As I write this on December 23rd, its $209 million take lands it at fourth place on the list of 2005’s moneymakers. For comparison, Greek’s $252 million placed it fifth in 2002 – a much more competitive year – while Mary’s $176 million meant it ended up third in the significantly less competitive 1998. None of these touch the total of the last 10 years’ biggest sleeper – 1999’s The Sixth Sense - but they remain quite remarkable.

Crashers broke from the Greek and Mary mold in one way: it offered a pretty good movie. I actively loathed the charmless and cutesy Greek, while I felt Mary was too gross and not funny enough. Crashers suffers from some flaws, but it ends up as fairly satisfying.

The film introduces us to longtime friends John Beckwith (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn). Now in their mid-thirties, the pair run a mediation business together and maintain a cynical attitude toward romance. They love to crash weddings, have fun at the receptions, and bed as many hot female guests as possible.

When wedding season winds down, they decide to shoot for the big enchilada: a massive, elaborate ceremony for Christina (Jenny Alden), the daughter of Treasury Secretary William Cleary (Christopher Walken). At this event, John meets Christina’s sister Claire (Rachel McAdams) and immediately becomes smitten. However, she dates Zack “Sack” Lodge (Bradley Cooper), so it looks like John doesn’t have a shot.

Too enraptured to give up, John decides to pursue Claire anyway. He gets an “in” when Jeremy bags Claire’s sister Gloria (Isla Fisher). This seems great until she claims to be a virgin and clearly seems clingy and mentally unstable.

How does this help John’s cause? Since Gloria quickly latches onto Jeremy, the pair get an invitation to spend the rest of the weekend with the Cleary family. Sensing the danger of additional contact with the potentially psycho Gloria, Jeremy resists, but John calls in a favor. From there, the movie takes us to see what happens as John tries to win over Claire and Jeremy attempts to survive Gloria. Expect plenty of complications along the way.

Good comedic complications, that is. First, the main negative of Crashers: it’s too damned long for this sort of film. The theatrical cut ran almost two hours, while this DVD’s unrated edition hits the 127-minute mark. This sort of film tends to work best around 100 minutes. That extra 20-30 minutes means that it loses steam after a while.

So much of Crashers works well, however, that fans can more easily forgive the dreariness that mars the third act. Wilson and Vaughn deserve credit for much of the movie’s success. The pair hadn’t worked much together, but they show a fine chemistry and easy rapport.

It helps they make their characters different. Neither man stretches his onscreen personality. Wilson does his charming semi-slacker bit while Vaughn goes for his hyper motor mouth who pours on the clever lines. It doesn’t bother me at all that they’ve played similar roles in the past. They know what they’re doing, and they develop appropriate personalities.

A terrific supporting cast benefits the flick. Walken is just odd enough to be funny, but he doesn’t indulge in over the top nonsense. McAdams is pretty and likable enough to ensure that we understand why John falls for her so heavily. And Fisher is both hot and freaky as Gloria. She emphasizes the comedic elements in her terrific turn. She’s irresistibly sexy – I think she’s more of a babe than the admittedly gorgeous McAdams – and she walks the line between funny and silly.

I like the fact Crashers is unabashedly “R”-rated but it doesn’t present smuttiness. There’s a lot of sex comedy on display here, to be sure. The film doesn’t engage in crassness, though, as the bits make sense for the movie. It fully earns its “R”-rating but it lacks the grossness usually found in this kind of flick.

I don’t think Wedding Crashers is a great film, and I have no idea how well future generations will view it. Nonetheless, it does more right than wrong, and it presents good pure entertainment. Despite a third act that sags, this is still a fun production likely to amuse.


The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B-/ Bonus B

Wedding Crashers appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While the movie looked fine, it lacked the spark I expected.

At times, sharpness became a minor issue. I thought some of the film appeared a little soft in wider shots. Most of the time the flick was acceptably concise and tight, though. I noticed no jagged edges, but Jeremy’s striped shirt shimmered a bit, and some mild edge enhancement was visible. No source flaws popped up to mar the presentation.

Colors leaned toward the pale side of the spectrum. Some of this appeared due to photographic choice, but I still thought the hues looked lighter than expected. The tones were acceptable but somewhat thin. On the other hand, blacks could be too dark and weren’t as distinctive as I’d like. Shadows looked fine, though, as the low-light shots were clear and easily visible. Enough of Crashers looked good to merit a “B-“, but this wasn’t a terrific transfer.

As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Wedding Crashers, it also mixed highs and lows. The soundfield itself fell somewhere in the middle, as it featured a restricted scope typical of comedies. The vast majority of the audio focused on the forward channels. Music presented fine stereo imaging, but the rest of the mix was pretty lackluster. The soundscape featured a decent sense of ambience but not much else. If any prominent scenes occurred, I can’t recall them.

This meant a decidedly unimpressive presence in the rear speakers. They added a little reinforcement to the music and effects, but I can’t say they did much for me. Again, I can’t remember anything back there that stood out as notable.

Audio quality varied from terrific to flawed. Speech showed the majority of the concerns. Although the lines always seemed intelligible and usually were reasonably natural, more than a few came across as a bit edgy. That distortion wasn’t terrible, but it caused distractions.

On the other hand, music was excellent. The songs and score presented great range and impact. They always were lively and vibrant, and they brought spice to the mix. Effects fell in between those two, mainly because they didn’t have much to do. The effects sounded accurate, though, and created no problems. Due to the speech concerns and the limited soundfield, I felt the audio only deserved a “B-“, though the solid quality of the music almost raised my grade to a “B”.

Wedding Crashers comes with a mix of supplements. In addition to the theatrical version, we get an extended unrated cut of the film. This lasts about an additional eight minutes and includes at least seven added or extended scenes. Here’s what I found that was new:

-Jeremy gets busted by a former conquest at Christina’s wedding;

-John and Cleary talk more about Todd;

-Jeremy and Gloria chat on the beach before they have sex;

-Jeremy and Gloria interact more after the football game;

-John and Todd after John’s gropes Kathleen

-Jeremy finds grandma in his bed and carries her to her own;

-More with Jeremy and John at breakfast;

-More with Jeremy and his heart-to-heart with Father O’Neil.

Please don’t take this as an authoritative listing of the cut scenes, as I may have missed something. I think I cover all of it, but I could be wrong.

As I noted in the body of my review, the theatrical Crashers was already too long, so the extra few minutes makes it even more slow-paced. That said, I liked much of what I saw. I really enjoyed the bit in which John and Jeremy try to cover their facts with the former conquest, and most of the others are entertaining and amusing as well. I won’t argue they definitely should have stayed in the final cut, though I think these scenes might have been good, especially if the filmmakers removed some other material that made the theatrical edition drag.

We get two audio commentaries. The first one presents director David Dobkin via a running, screen-specific chat. He offers an almost scholarly look at his film. Dobkin covers the movie’s themes and tone, casting and collaboration with the actors, changes from the original script and additions for the “Uncorked” edition, visual design and the use of Washington as a setting, story and characters, ratings issues, and general shooting notes.

The only real negative comes from all the praise Dobkin heaps on the participants; the piece becomes a real lovefest at times. Nonetheless, Dobkin provides an insightful and intelligent examination of his work. He delves into the thought processes behind the movie and makes this a winning track.

For the second commentary, we hear from actors Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. Both sit together in this running, screen-specific track. Don’t expect a lot of notes about making the movie. Occasionally they chat about Crashers, and we get their perspectives on locations, characters, and the other performers.

Especially during the film’s first half, Wilson and Vaughn just yak together. They talk about school experiences, acting in their early days, dating, childhood discipline, and what football games they watched that day. Potentially this could have been amusing, but instead the track just meanders. There’s a lot of dead air and little to entertain or inform us.

Matters improve during the flick’s second hour. Vaughn and Wilson dig more deeply into their characters and the story, which means they actually provide some decent insights. They simply narrate the movie too much of the time, but at least you’ll learn something from the last hour of the movie. Nonetheless, the commentary is too inconsistent to be a good one.

Four Deleted Scenes last a total of seven minutes, 45 seconds. We get “Cleary Tests John”, “Jeremy Consoles John”, “Bluefish” and “99 Red Balloons”. All are pretty good, and most could have stayed in the final cut. Only “Balloons” deserved the axe, but not because it’s bad; this karaoke scene was a good omission just because it’s too long.

We can watch the scenes with or without commentary from Dobkin. He tells us why he excised the pieces and tosses out a few production notes. He doesn’t add great insight, but he does his job acceptably well.

Next we get a featurette called Event Planning. This 11-minute and 34-second piece presents movie clips, behind the scenes elements, and interviews. We hear from Dobkin, Vaughn, Wilson, costume designer Denise Wingate, set decorator Garret Lewis, producer Andrew Panay, screenwriters Steve Farber and Bob Fisher, wedding coordinator Lovelynn van der Horst, magic and balloon consultant Michael Stellman, and actors Christopher Walken, Rachel McAdams, and Jane Seymour.

The show looks at creating all the different weddings, the interaction between Vaughn and Wilson, and Dobkin’s work. A general promotional piece, I wish “Planning” delved more deeply into all the challenges related to staging the various ceremonies. Those elements are interesting, but the rest of the program feels like a glorified trailer.

The Rules goes for seven minutes and 27 seconds. The featurette includes remarks from Vaughn and Wilson. They simply discuss some of the rules of crashing weddings and give us a look at the movie. It’s entertaining but insubstantial.

A text component presents The Rules of Wedding Crashing. Across 24 screens, we get all of those decrees spelled out in detail. This is a fun extra.

In the Trailers domain, we find the movie’s teaser and theatrical clips. Some “Promotional Commercials” tout both Crashers and Budweiser. We also discover “Sneak Peeks” for The New World, Final Destination 3, Take the Lead, the Dukes of Hazzard movie and The Man. Those trailers open the DVD as well. Lastly, the Soundtrack area presents a tracklisting for the album along with a music video for the Sights’ “Circus”. It’s a boring lip-synch video, but the song’s a decent rocker.

One of the year’s biggest hits, Wedding Crashers made its money the old-fashioned way: it earned an audience through very positive word of mouth. That doesn’t ensure a movie will be good; My Big Fat Greek Wedding was atrocious but made a lot of money through word of mouth. I have no problem with the fondness attached to Crashers, as I think it’s quite funny and likable despite a mix of flaws. The DVD offers decent picture and audio along with a fairly solid set of extras. While it’s not a great disc, there’s enough here that’s positive to merit a recommendation.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.2325 Stars Number of Votes: 43
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