It’s January, folks. After the glut of awards season hopefuls released in November and December always comes the month of release calendar filler. These are the movies that wouldn’t be released if the studios could find any other way to keep paying their overhead during this time of year. I mean, come on: we all know its January release date is the only reason Paul Blart; Mall Cop did as well as it did — it had zero viable competition in the box office.
And so we come to The Wedding Ringer, Jeremy Garelick’s film that was originally meant to star Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughan, but now has Kevin Hart and Josh Gad in the leading roles. It really couldn’t be released in any other month aside from January.
The story is pretty straightforward and unimpressive: when shlumpy Doug Harris (Gad) finds himself engaged to a girl way out of his league (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), he hires Jimmy Callahan (Hart) — a professional “wedding ringer” — to pretend to be his best friend and best man. But since Doug has no friends, this is the biggest job Jimmy will ever have to do. With only two weeks until the wedding, he’ll have to round up a whole fake groom’s party. Basically, the premise is that guys are emotional nitwits and are no longer capable of making close bonds, and so Jimmy has hit upon a goldmine business strategy.
To be fair, there are some scenes that made me laugh (like a surprising twist in a scene involving dancing), but there were far more that made me cringe (like setting a grandmother aflame). This film was more like a montage of “hilarious” set ups, with barely any connecting tissue to make us buy what was inevitably going to happen at the end of the film. Don’t worry. I won’t spoil it, but I bet you can guess everything that will happen already. Kevin Hart and Josh Gad are two funny dudes, but I don’t understand why they let themselves get saddled with projects like this. That’s January for you.