HOLLYWOOD—Kevin Hart has been labeled the new king of comedy, but has his funny reign come to a screeching halt? That depends on who you ask, there is no arguing he had a massive 2014, with break-out hit “Ride Along” and that success parlayed into many more projects.
His latest outing, “The Wedding Ringer” seems a bit too familiar in my eyes. Does anyone remember that 2005 comedy “Hitch” starring Will Smith and Kevin James? Take that approach, but reverse the narrative a bit and you have “The Wedding Ringer.”
Hart stars as Jimmy Callahan, a man who runs an agency that provides soon to be grooms the perfect ‘Best Man’ when they don’t have one. When he comes face-to-face with Doug Harris (Josh Gad), his request to provide a troupe of individuals for his wedding party, the task appears daunting to Callahan, but money talks.
The rest of the movie plays out as an over-the-top, gross-out, and somewhat disturbing sequences involving Jimmy, Doug, Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) and the rest of the wedding party. Can one argue that there are funny moments in the flick, yes? The problem is those funny moments come across as so forced, they are somewhat uncomfortable to watch on the screen. Let’s just say, there is a scene involving peanut butter and a dog that is just gross-out.
There is no denying Hart’s comedic timing, but “The Wedding Planner” doesn’t quite know how to use the rest of the characters without them being archetypes. The script by Jeremy Garelick and Jay Lavender exhibits the problem most comedies have: trying too hard to be funny, instead of allowing the laughs to naturally flow thanks to its comedic talents in Hart and Gad. They have terrific chemistry, its just everything else in the movie is so lackluster it doesn’t help.
The entire time I was watching this movie, I kept thinking Kevin James from “Hitch,” being coached by a black guy on how to be smooth and not so neurotic about life. “The Wedding Ringer” could have been a much funnier flick, if the script was sharper and the movie utilized the talents of its leads instead of relying on cheap laughs to entertain the viewer.