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The Wedding Ringer
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Wedding Ringer is a crass comedy about a best man for hire (Kevin Hart). Like Wedding Crashers and The Hangover, the movie uses a wedding and bachelor party as excuses for debauchery and landing a one-night stand. Nearly every line of dialogue includes a string of expletives ("f--k," "motherf---er," "a--hole," you name it), and there's some nudity in the bachelor party sequence (topless women, a dog licking peanut butter off a man's penis), as well as tons of crude references to sex. Adults drink to excess and smoke weed, there's some slapstick/pratfall-type violence, and, with few exceptions, women are stereotyped as materialistic and shallow, while men are reduced to sex-obsessed jerks.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE WEDDING RINGER, Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart) has a lucrative business as a best man for hire. For $20,000, he'll be a groom's fill-in best man for the rehearsal and wedding, giving a tearful champagne toast -- or, for considerably more, he'll add a couple of groomsmen to the mix. But what friendless, desperate groom Doug (Josh Gad) needs is the top-of-the-line, "Golden Tux" package: seven groomsmen to fill fictional roles he made up about imaginary friends, a best man who's supposedly a priest/Army chaplain to attend pre-wedding events, and a flawless performance by Callahan and his employees (including Lost star Jorge Garcia and comedian Affion Crockett) to make sure that his gorgeous fiancée, Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), never finds out her rich and sweet husband-to-be has zero close friends.
Is it any good?
There are brief moments throughout The Wedding Ringer when it's clear that Hart is acting, rather than just relying on his rapid-fire manic riffs to get him through a scene. He's a skilled comedian, but this movie is far too uneven to showcase his talent. It bizarrely goes from being so crass and disgusting that you want to cringe (like when a dog licks peanut butter off of the groom's genitals during the bachelor party) to occasional moments when it's better than you'd expect (like the reception dance sequence). And there are a few genuine laughs (that aren't just from gross-out humor) along the way.
But in terms of messages, The Wedding Ringer has troublesome portrayals of marriage, weddings (apparently they're only for women, and men only go in order to "score" -- either with their date or, better yet, a strange woman who's willing to have a one night stand), and male friendship. With the exception of the bride's clever sister (Olivia Thirlby), who knows that something is up, the women in the movie are all shallow and materialistic and the men even shallower (even the supposedly nice groom finds a spark with a stripper, of all people). On the bright side, though Hart and Gad mostly have an annoyingly uneven camaraderie (Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau or Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller they're not), when they do occasionally hit their mark, The Wedding Ringer is passably funny.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of movies about weddings. Why do you think people like them? Do you prefer wedding comedies or dramas? What are some of your favorite wedding movies?
Which relationships in The Wedding Ringer are healthy? Are any of them realistic? What does the bride mean when says she's OK without love because the groom is a "nice guy"?
Discuss how the movie depicts male friendship. Do you think men are less likely to have close friends than women? Why? Do you think the movie portrays men (and women) in a stereotypical manner?
How does the movie depict drinking and drug use? Are there realistic consequences?
What role does the media play in making us think that the wedding is as important as the marriage?
- In theaters: January 16, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: April 28, 2015
- Cast: Kevin Hart, Josh Gad, Kaley Cuoco
- Director: Jeremy Garelick
- Studio: Screen Gems
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: crude and sexual content, language throughout, some drug use and brief graphic nudity
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.