Sunday, December 17, 2006

Are they built for speed or comfort?

I finally got around to watching "Wedding Crashers" and I thought it was very good. Vince Vaughn was something of a scene stealer but Owen Wilson got off some great lines as well.

One of the most refreshing things about the movie is that Christopher Walken was actually allowed to act, and wasn't merely called on to be a caricature of all the creepy roles he's played. The man is capable of doing far more than staring wide-eyed and bobbing his head back and forth. (One of his more noteworthy recent roles was "Scotland, Pa.")

"Wedding Crashers" provided some great laughs, but it also had some good acting, which is more important to comedies than a lot of modern filmmakers seem to realize. I think the success of the Vaughn/Wilsons/Stiller/Ferrell/etc. comedy troupe is due in part to their skills as actors. Another good example is Steve Carell; "The 40 Year Old Virgin" certainly wasn't the funniest movie I've ever seen, but it had some good performances, and that's what makes it hold up on multiple viewings.

I do have a problem, however, with movies like "Wedding Crashers" in which we are supposed to root for the protagonist to steal a woman away from a boyfriend who is obviously horrible for her. The problem (and "The Wedding Singer" is another good example) is that the rival suitor is always made to be such a louse that we are left to wonder what the woman in question ever saw in him in the first place. Sure, we all know someone in real life who has dated or every married a person who is lousy for them. At some point though--unless the relationship is abusive--we tend to lose sympathy for them and figure they've gotten what they asked for. But I don't think that's the reaction filmmakers want us to have.

"Wedding Crashers", as my wife observed, really poured it on thick--portraying the character of Zachary Lodge as not only arrogant and vain, but violent and philandering--because Wilson's John Beckwith was no Boy Scout himself: He attended weddings to which he was not invited in order to have one-night stands with woman who believed he was someone else. He needed a foil even more despicable than that.

It's a small quibble. It was, after all, just a comedy, and a damn funny one at that.

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Blogger Cope said...

It sort of reminded me of the time we were rooting for Gregor to steal Lindsey away from Siemers.

9:31 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Talk about your unrealistic scenarios.

5:08 PM


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