Now, I hate to be stereotypical, but the way I see it, there are two kinds of romantic comedy. There’s the guy-comedy and the chick-flick. For example: Anchorman is a guy-comedy. You’ve Got Mail is a chick-flick. Wedding Crashers is a guy-comedy. Must Love Dogs is a chick-flick. I’m not saying that one type is better than the other, or that only guys can like guy-comedies or only women can like chick-flicks, but there is a difference between the two. In a guy-comedy the humor is usually more slapstick or potty-related. In a chick-flick there’s a higher instance of sappy lines (“You had me at hello…”) and an extremely high chance of sisters singing together in their pajamas. Over the weekend, I went to see an example of each type.
Wedding Crashers, a classic example of a guy comedy, tells the story of two long-time best friends, John (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy (Vince Vaughn), who crash weddings—show up uninvited, pretend that they have a connection to the family, eat the food, drink the booze, dance, party, and sleep with unsuspecting bridesmaids. They’ve been doing this for years and have loved every second of it until they crash the Cleary wedding. John is in heaven. The father of the bride is the Secretary of the Treasury (Christopher Walken), a childhood hero of his, plus he thinks he has found the love of his life. Meanwhile Jeremy is not so happy; he accidentally snares a “code red clinger” and is ready to abort the mission. Unfortunately for him, John accepts an invitation to the family’s beach house so that he can get closer to Claire Cleary (Rachel McAdams, Mean Girls), his dream girl. One foul-mouthed grandmother, a creepy brother, and an over-aggressive boyfriend later, the story takes a hilarious, surprising turn. Not to spoil the ending, I’ll stop there.
Wedding Crashers features a lot of sexual humor, but rather than being offensive it is just really funny. I laughed to tears at least twice. The first hour to hour and a half is pretty much non-stop comedy. Toward the end, the story takes a darker, unhumorous turn that doesn’t really work. I didn’t like the ending, but overall I thought the movie was really good.
Wilson and Vaughn are hilarious together. They make a great team. Rachel McAdams is adorable and Christopher Walken is his usual funny, but slightly creepy-self. Will Ferrell makes a cameo and his character is indistinguishable from about 90 percent of his other characters. The man needs some new shtick. Overall, I really enjoyed Wedding Crashers and rate it a four out of five.
Later, I went to see Must Love Dogs with my best gal-pal. We support John Cusack in everything he does (except getting married), but this was pushing things a little far. Dogs is the story of Sarah (Diane Lane), a recently divorced pre-school teacher whose lovably nosey family uploads her profile onto an on-line dating site. The equally meddling best friend of Jake (Cusack) answers the ad for him. The two have a rocky start. Jake’s mouth gets ahead of him, but…yadda…yadda…they end up really liking each other by date three. On the sidelines is Bobby (Dermot Mulroney, The Wedding Date), the far-too-attractive, also divorced father of one of Sarah’s students. Sarah and Bobby also have an attraction, which means it’s time for a love triangle. I bet you can guess how it ends.
Must Love Dogs is thoroughly transparent. I started placing bets on what was going to happen next. All the familiar chick-flick techniques and standards are there. It’s a cute movie, but a waste of talent for some of the actors involved (Lane, Cusack, Stockard Channing, and Christopher Plummer). It’s good for a night out if you’re looking for a light-hearted vedge-fest, but it’s not a quality movie. I rate it two out of five—one point for Cusack and one for Mulroney. Kuddos to the casting department.
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