Director David Dobkin
Starring Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Christopher Walken, Rachel McAdams
Film **** Extras ****
“You can tell if a girl wants more when they hug you,” says Owen Wilson on his revealing chat-track with Wedding Crashers cohort Vince Vaughn. Later, he reveals that he once dated a girl who lived on one of the streets they filmed on. “I think any street you go to you would have dated a girl on it,” smirks Vaughn, who has previously admitted to swiping lines from his pal Jon Favreau for his role as excitable wedding crasher Jeremy (including the one about sticking your ass out to avoid unnecessary groin proximity when kissing a girl you don't want to see again). Vaughn also seems pretty proud of the phrase “tramp stamp” to describe a tattoo on a woman's lower back. That one didn't make it into the film, though...
You couldn't pick a better tag-team than Wilson and Vaughn to play two cheerfully raunchy womanisers who sneak into other people's weddings with the express purpose of getting laid, only to get sidetracked by love. They're a pair of juggernaut jokers who bring bad-boy authenticity and riff off each other with two-way exuberance - Wilson drawling and amiable, Vaughn motormouth and manic. Together, they cook up a crack comic rhythm that's practically poetic in its interplay and fluency. This is evidenced in both the film and their joint yak-track - the pinnacle of the extras on this 'Uncorked' edition which includes nine minutes of extra running time (the theatrical cut is also included).
Director David Dobkin walks alone on the second commentary, and he's the man to thank for zoning in on Wilson and Vaughn to play Crashers' hottie-chasing divorce mediators, having directed the former in Shanghai Knights and the latter in Dobkin's debut Clay Pigeons. But Dobkin also nails Crashers' casting throughout. Every member of the Kennedy-esque clan whose society nuptials are our practised deceivers' latest target are perfect: Christopher Walken as Treasury Secretary William Cleary; Rachel McAdams, the film's beguiling emotional anchor, as his daughter Claire; the superb Bradley Cooper as her jerky, blueblood fiancé 'Sack'; Isla Fisher, a scream as lovestruck nympho Gloria; and Jane Seymour as the Secretary's trampy, booze-soaked wife.
The film bolts out of the gates on an adrenalised charge through the boys' seasonal onslaught of nuptial gatecrashing and seduction of random female guests, before settling into its groove as a more reflective, sweet-natured buddy-comedy when - maturity alert - John is struck by the notion that maybe this lark is getting a bit undignified for two guys in their mid-30s (note to critics who bashed the film over its undignified protagonists - you were napping in this bit). As Dobkin says on his gab-track, this is “a coming-of-age story for 35-year-old men.”
But even when things start getting serious with the Wilson-McAdams love strand, Crashers always keeps soppy sentiment at bay, skating near the edge with Vaughn's delivery of lines like “Stage five. Virgin. Clinger!” and “I felt like Jodie Foster in The Accused last night”, and dishing out one belly-laugh set-piece after another, including Will Ferrell's cameo as the crasher godfather.
Still, the real joy of Crashers is watching Wilson and Vaughn strike sparks off each other. Their mutual admiration is always evident, both on screen and in their sardonic, blokey chat-track banter: pointing out scenes where they tried to make each other laugh and proudly singling out all the ideas they added to the mix, including most of their lingo (“Baba ganoosh!”). They're even happy to mock, as in the scene where John spots Claire for the first time: “Look at me! I'm just transfixed,” drawls Wilson in his lazy, Texan twang. “I guess that's what the slo-mo is for.”
So what stops the film short of straight-up, five-star greatness? Well, Dobkin overindulges Vaughn's penchant for rapid-fire monologuing and overplays his hand with the dysfunctional Clearys. Namely, with Todd, the scowling, stoop-shouldered “homo” member of the family, which comes off as mean-spirited - and redundant.
The disc also drops a star for not matching its double serving of champion commentaries with anything else as satisfying. The Event Planning doc, which focuses on the logistics of shooting the orgiastic opening montage, is strictly one-view; Vaughn and Wilson trawling through the wedding-crashers' rules contains only a few chuckles; while the deleted scenes are mostly missable, apart from Wilson and Vaughn's duet of Nena's '80s classic '99 Red Balloons'.
But, grumps aside, it's an essential DVD package for 2005's most consistently fun and funny film. And, in Lounge's far from humble opinion, Vaughn and Wilson can't find another project to star in together soon enough.