The weird thing is that everyone knows this, we've discussed it with our buddies ad nauseam ... and yet nobody ever made a movie about it. What took so long? I have my stories. You have your stories. All of us have our stories. If you're in your 20s and can't hook up at a wedding, either the talent pool was nonexistent or you have a worse game than Rick Brunson. See, that's why you get mad watching this movie -- it was a blatantly obvious idea, and for the first hour, it's executed flawlessly. At least I thought so.
Some of the highlights:
• Vince Vaughn in full Double Down Trent mode. After "Swingers," we all wanted him to keep playing Double Down Trent. For whatever reason, he resisted and kept making movies like "Clay Pigeons," "A Cool Dry Place" and "The Cell." He played Norman Bates in the awful "Psycho" remake. Then he hit rock bottom with an unfathomably absymal performance in "Domestic Disturbance," probably the single-worst Hollywood movie of this decade (of course, much like "Pacific Heights," "Unlawful Entry" and "Bad Influence," it gets funnier as the years pass.) But after "Disturbance," Vince decided to stick with what he does best: only playing variations of Double Down Trent. Now he's scorching hot again, which makes me wonder why he ever decided to stop being Trent in the first place. Anyway, he's funny as hell in this movie. As is Owen Wilson, and I don't even like the Wilsons that much.
• There are some genuinely inspired "hey, I have a friend who does that!" and "hey, I've made that joke with my buddies, I can't believe it's in here!" moments in the first hour, including Vaughn explaining the real purpose of a woman's lower-back tattoo (sadly, I'm not allowed to print the answer here), the "just the tip" theory (ditto) and Vaughn pretending to be a professional bullfighter at one wedding (shades of my buddy Bug, who always told women in bars that he was a Formula One race car driver). Not everything works, but the ongoing "rules" gimmick was a fun twist. Usually when movies go in the "we're going to be realistic and tackle the stuff that guys talk about with their buddies!" direction, it's a complete, unmitigated disaster. Not this time.
• Weddings have always been an untapped resource for movie comedy. For instance, I once went to a wedding where the couple used Aerosmith's theme song from "Armageddon" for their first dance. How can you ever forget something like that? That might have been the comedy highlight of 1999 for me. And "Crashers" nails most of those dopey wedding angles (with the black sheep sibling, the I'm-hitting-on-a-hot-girl-at-a-wedding-when-her-boyfriend-suddenly-appears stomach-punch moment and the rambling/awkward toast from a kid just out a drug rehab being my favorites), although I can't believe they forgot to include one 250-pound bridesmaid awkwardly crammed into her dress for the Cleary wedding, which should have been an absolute layup.
(The highlight of the first hour? A montage with the boys crashing various weddings and dancing to "Shout" in different outfits, culminating in a barrage of naked bridesmaids and cousins falling on beds to hook up with Vaughn and Wilson. One of the funnier montages in recent memory ... and with gratuitous nudity, no less. I give that sequence a 15 out of 10.)