Like a Starsky and Hutch for the Match.com generation, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn are the bumbling vigilante antiheroes of the dating world, fighting loneliness and dull romantic comedies for all of us.
By day, childhood friends John Beckwith (Wilson) and Jeremy Klein (Vaughn) run a successful business as mediators for lawsuits in Washington, DC. By night, they are swinging singles, trying to score as many beautiful women as they can before they get too old. Their main method is to crash weddings and woo the fragile bridesmaids and bored single guests.
These are nice-guy scoundrels, mind you. They're not riding into these events with motorcycle jackets and causing a West Side Story scene. They come dressed in suits or tuxedos and employ highly developed come-on lines that are meant to show their sensitive sides. Really, they just want to be liked, and a little making out on the side is a nice perk.
That makes it easy to believe John when he's slumped on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after a night of partying, wondering how this strategy is going to get him a wife, two kids and a picket fence. He swears off weddings, but Jeremy convinces him to go for one final blast at the social wedding of the century '- a senator's daughter marrying the scion of a wealthy family. And then, the game is on.
Director David Dobkin, whose major credit previously was Shanghai Knights, treats the rest of the movie like another Jackie Chan action flick, with all the requisite silly plot twists, slapstick shots to the groin and potty jokes. The gist is that John and Jeremy both fall for bridesmaids and end up getting invited back to the bridal family's island beach house for the weekend. John's intended, Claire (Rachel McAdams) is already involved with somebody else, and so she's not that interested in his pursuit. Jeremy's weekend fling, Christina (Isla Fisher), is a nutcase who thinks they're going to get married.
While McAdams adds a little spark with her refusals, neither woman rises above being a mere conquest, or rather, a plot complication. They certainly don't add anything to the comic backdrop of the movie. On the other hand, their senator dad (Christopher Walken) is a grumpy menace who manages to steal the show with only a few lines.
Wilson and Vaughn have great chemistry, and they're at their best when they're kibitzing head-to-head. Pulled apart by all of the secondary characters, they get lost amid all the distractions. They don't find each other until the end of the movie, when John hits bottom after being rejected and Jeremy actually finds out that he likes his crazy girl. Except for a brief and bizarre cameo by Will Ferrell as their party crasher inspiration, all that's left at that point is the wrapping up of all the loose ends into a tidy bow. That's another action movie convention that a comedy like this would have been better off without.
iVillage Mood Meter: Will make you appreciate Zoolander
Stars: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Christopher Walken
Director: David Dobkin
Screenwriters: Steve Faber, Bobby Fisher
Producers: Peter Abrams, Robert Levy, Andrew Panay
Release date: July 15, 2005 nationwide
Distributor: New Line