An unapologetically silly movie that manages to hit the right notes, this free-wheeling comedy makes up for its corny premise with sharp writing and acting. And as it keeps the audience laughing, it's also quietly finding some rather intriguing things to say about masculinity in American society. Thankfully, preaching a message is never this film's intention. And both Kevin Hart and Josh Gad bring so much charm and energy to their roles that they instantly become a movie duo we'd like to see together again and again.
Gad plays Doug, the nervous groom preparing for his wedding to Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), a girl far hotter than he ever imagined he'd get for a wife. But Doug has no friends who are willing to be his best man and groomsmen, so he turns to his wedding planner (Serricchio) for help getting in touch with an underground service that provides them. Enter Jimmy (Hart), the fast-talking, quick-thinking best man for hire who assembles a hilariously rag-tag group of "friends" as groomsmen. As they indulge in some condensed bonding so they can convince everyone they're best pals, these guys actually begin to have fun together. And Doug begins to hope that maybe this isn't just a professional partnership.
Yes, what we have here is a bromance between Doug and Jimmy, two friendless guys who discover that maybe together they can change their lives. Filmmaker Jeremy Garelick never tries to obscure the standard rom-com structure, and the simple plot is utterly predictable, but there are surprising currents of comedy and emotion running everywhere. Hart and Gad manage to bring out all kinds of riotous humour, underlying insecurities and general comic mayhem in each scene. Hart's cocky run-on dialogue is hilarious, and matched perfectly by Gad's gung-ho physicality. But even more intriguing are the darker layers beneath the silly surface. And everything is livened up by a raucously ridiculous supporting cast, including veterans Ken Howard and Mimi Rogers as Gretchen's too-intense parents and an underused Cloris Leachman as her bedraggled granny.
Continue reading: The Wedding Ringer Review
A wedding is a time for all of your friends and family to come together and celebrate your union with another person and the start of your new family. But for someone like Doug Harris (Josh Gad) who has no friends and is engaged to a woman deemed 'too good for him', it's looking to be a nightmare. With the day of the wedding drawing steadily closer, Doug is convinced to hire a best man and group of groomsmen, and calls upon the services of Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart), owner and CEO of Best Man, Inc. From there, Doug and Jimmy have a week to establish themselves as 'best friends' and make themselves look like people that have spent the best part of their lives together. But in the process of Bachelor Parties and wedding planning, it starts to look like Doug's new friends are turning him into a completely different person.
Continue: The Wedding Ringer - Alternative Trailer
This generational drama strains so hard to be serious that it's almost laughable. Its big themes are only superficially addressed, while the bloated nearly two and a half hour running time could easily have been cut down simply by eliminating all of the emotive close-ups of actors with tears welling in their eyes. In other words, while there are the bare bones of a decent movie in here, it's been badly compromised to turn it into Oscar bait.
At least it starts well, with a sequence centred on Hank (Robert Downey Jr), a slick Chicago lawyer with a precocious daughter (Emma Tremblay) and an angry trophy wife (Sarah Lancaster) who has had enough. Hank's cold-hearted ways are a legacy of his estranged relationship with his father Joseph (Robert Duvall), the no-nonsense judge in a small-town Indiana town. Then Hank is called home when his mother dies, comforting his brothers Glen (Vincent D'Onofrio), whose injured hand ended his baseball career, and Dale (Jeremy Strong), who is mentally challenged. He also rekindles his youthful romance with waitress Sam (Vera Farmiga). Then Joseph is arrested for murder, and Hank steps in to help inexperienced lawyer CP (Dax Shepard) defend him against the shark-like prosecutor (Billy Bob Thornton).
There isn't a single subtle element in this film, as the script is carefully constructed to pull our sympathies back and forth even though both Hank and Joseph are deeply unlikeable grumps. Downey and Duvall are good enough actors to make them watchable, but director David Dobkin (The Change-up) hammers every sentimental scene home with far too much force. And the script is so simplistic that it chickens out before anything interesting happens. Even the court case lacks something compelling to draw the audience in. It certainly doesn't help that the characters are all deeply contrived. Just one example: there's a disability for each of the three brothers: physical, emotional and mental.
Continue reading: The Judge Review
David Dobkin's movie 'The Judge' is the opener at Toronto Film Festival - a slot not traditionally associated with high quality.
David Dobkin, the filmmaker best known for his classic comedy Wedding Crashers, brings an altogether different film to the Toronto Film Festival this week. His legal drama The Judge, starring Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall, opens this year's festival on Thursday (August 4, 2014).
Robert Downey Jr [L] and Robert Duvall [R] in 'The Judge'
"I hadn't had an opportunity to really dig in and do something like this in 20 years," Dobkin told the Canadian Press of his foray into drama. "There are a lot of intense scenes in the movie. You would think that comedies are more fun to work on and they're not always as fun as they come out. This movie was strangely cathartic."
Continue reading: Downey Jr And 'The Judge' Set To Open Toronto Film Festival
Doug is all set to get married to his beautiful wife-to-be with wedding plans well underway, but there's just one problem; he can't find anyone willing to be his best man. He may be successful career-wise, but his social skills leave much to be desired. With no close friends to speak of, he has a massive problem - especially as he needs an additional seven groomsmen and he's already told his fiancee that everything is fine. It's then he discovers the Best Man Inc.; a special organisation that provides best man services to engaged social outcasts, for a price. With the help of his new best friend Jimmy, Doug sets out to try and fool his guests and his bride that he does have people close to him - but things don't look like they're going to run smoothly, especially when he meets his eccentic groom's party.
Continue: The Wedding Ringer Trailer
Hank Palmer is a ruthless but excellent lawyer, despised by many of his peers for his habit of representing often blatantly guilty criminals. One day mid-trial however, he receives a call from home informing him of his mother's recent death. Reluctantly, he ventures back to the town of Carlinville, Indiana where he grew up to convene with his family ahead of the funeral. As he expected, the greeting between himself and his father - the local Judge Joseph Palmer - is particularly frosty. As a young college graduate, Hank was desperate to leave the harsh and unfriendly grasp of his father but when the town's sheriff tells him that Joseph is now a murder suspect, he begins to feel a grudging obligation to cast their differences aside and help him protest his innocence.
Continue: The Judge - Trailer
Anna Marie Hoover, like any mother, knew that her young son, John Edgar, would grow up to accomplish great things. But she did not expect that he would grow up to become the FBI's first director.
Continue: J. Edgar Trailer
When they are approached by the Maysles (Arye Gross, Justin Louis) about making a movie of their life, Big Edith Beale (Lange) and her daughter Little Edie (Barrymore) are a tad suspicious. After all, they have let few people in their decaying Hamptons home, and the last time anyone showed up, it was the county health inspector threatening to condemn the mansion. Intrigued by the idea of being in a movie however, the duo agree, and soon we are whisked back to the days when Big Edith suffered through her straight-laced husband Phelan (Ken Howard) as Little Edie wooed Truman Cabinet member Julius Krug (Daniel Baldwin). As she ages, the sullen matriarch wants more freedom. Instead, she becomes a virtual recluse in her home, calling on her jet-setting offspring to come home and care for her. Thanks to relative Jackie Onassis (Jeanne Tripplehorn), they have enough money to live on. But their life is still one of misguided dreams and internalized strife.
Continue reading: Grey Gardens (2009) Review
An unapologetically silly movie that manages to hit the right notes, this free-wheeling comedy makes...
A wedding is a time for all of your friends and family to come together...
This generational drama strains so hard to be serious that it's almost laughable. Its big...
Doug is all set to get married to his beautiful wife-to-be with wedding plans well...
Hank Palmer is a ruthless but excellent lawyer, despised by many of his peers for...
Anna Marie Hoover, like any mother, knew that her young son, John Edgar, would grow...