Try as he might, Kevin Hart just can’t find the right starring vehicle. With how hilarious his standup is, you’d think it would be an easy crossover. But not even pairing up with Josh Gad can save The Wedding Ringer from being a boring exercise in vulgarity. Co-writer/director Jeremy Garelick may have come up with a decent concept for a comedy — revolving around a rentable best man at weddings — but his reliance on lowbrow and expletives becomes tiresome when the only likeable part are the leads. Hart’s theatrical endeavors may be making decent amounts of cash, but not one has been worthy of his talents; from Ride Along to Get Hard to The Wedding Ringer, now available on Blu-ray from Sony Home Entertainment.
Jimmy Calahan (Hart) provides a service for individuals in need of a best man. For a fee, he will instill himself into your wedding, and for additional costs, you can even have him supply a gaggle of groomsmen. Doug Harris (Gad) is just that kind of man, with seemingly no friends whatsoever, he needs to supply his side of the wedding party for his impending nuptials to Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting). As the big day gets closer, Doug’s desperation grows stronger, forcing him to pay for the infamous “Golden Tux” consisting of seven groomsmen. Jimmy’s only stipulation is for Doug to understand that he provides services only, not friendship. Something any viewer knows will change by the end of the film.
The Wedding Ringer is presented on Blu-ray mastered in 4K as per standard Sony operating procedure. The film looks as good as you’d expect for a freshly-minted comedy, with detail always crisp and clean. Daytime scenes are bright and clear with darkened scenes never resulting in crush. Aliasing and noise never invade and colors remain strong and natural. Compression issues are non-existent.
On the flipside, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio could have used some more work in the mixing department. Dialogue is clear until the soundtrack kicks in and then good luck hearing anything else. Music overwhelms everything and it happens through most of the runtime. Not that there’s really anything funny to hear, but it’s a huge issue and unacceptable from a brand new film, especially from a major studio. Keep your volume in check or you may blow your speakers. Additional audio includes: French 5.1 DTS and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles are English Audio Descriptive Service, French, and Spanish.
The special features all drive home how bad the film is when not even Hart or Gad can elicit so much as a chuckle in a collection of “Deleted Scenes” (21:45). Included are “Plant a Tree in Israel,” “Cavity Search — Alternate,” “Doris Calls for Endo,” “Invent Our Own Past,” “Bic’s Special Prayer,” “Courthouse,” “Bad Best Men — Extended,” “PJ the Waiter,” “Night Plumbers — Extended,” “Holly Monk,” “Dirty Gretchen,” “Football Whoo-ha,” “Wedding Procession,” “Hal Lane Roast,” and “Impressive Groomsmen.” A set of “Outtakes” (14:13) only has one funny bit featuring a string of malfunctioning flashlights.“Line-O-Rama” (14:19) is more of the same unfunny business as we watch elongated takes of the cast trying to improv to horrible effect.
A music video for “You Can Do This” (3:30) by Aloe Blacc features the cast goofing around, and an “Audio Commentary” rounds things out with Garelick and Gad showing good rapport that never translates to the finished product.
The biggest problem with The Wedding Ringer is that it makes the mistake of thinking vulgar automatically equals laughs. Judd Apatow has definitely proven that you can have it both ways, but Garelick steeps the film over its head in unnecessary crudity that by the time the quasi-sappy inevitable ending rolls around, it hasn’t earned one ounce of the heart it strives for. The funny thing is, it actually works better in these moments when Hart and Gad realize they can be friends. Had they let them be the entirety of the runtime this could have been a completely different beast of a film. As it stands, The Wedding Ringer may feature tons of special features and stellar video, but everyone involved deserves better.
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