Wedding Crashers hilarious but crass

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The biting comedic talents of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson make Wedding Crashers a quick, hilarious and funny ride, but the story has a few dirty secrets at its core, including flat characters, plot holes and a painfully unoriginal romantic comedy ending.

The good: It's amusing, the actors are skilled and it'll make you laugh. Guaranteed. If Vaughn and Wilson were a recipe for a science experiment, they'd explode?#34;they have such chemistry together. Their instantaneous, snappy, ridiculous back-and-forth makes the movie sizzle.

The story opens with two fantastic sequences: a zany mediation session where a cranky divorced couple talks to each other civilly just to get divorce mediators John (Wilson) and Jeremy (Vaughn) to zip it, and a wonky lightning-delivery Vaughn monologue where he explains his aversion to dating.

The movie's premise gets points for originality. The two friends and colleagues have perfected the art of sneaking into weddings to pick up chicks and partake of the free alcohol. They tend to end up at the center of the wedding photographs (even if they're the only Caucasians in a group of Asian or Indian wedding-goers), often eating the wedding cake and downing shots with the bride and groom.

Under the tutelage of the mysterious Chazz, who shows up with nunchaku and a kimono later in the movie, they follow the 115-plus sacred rules of "wedding crashing," which include everything from "Never leave a fellow crasher behind" to "Always have an updated family tree for the bride and groom."

Wedding crashing is evidently the best way to woo a girl into bed?#34;just dance with the flower girl or the grandmother of the bride, make a few balloon animals, sob over the "good men" lost in any given situation, and she's putty in your hands.

The bad: Unfortunately, the movie goes downhill when it becomes a sappy love story in the second half. I'm all about romantic comedies, but this was sloppily done.

The buddies crash the wedding of Treasury Secretary William Cleary, a "very powerful man" (Christopher Walken). John becomes infatuated with Cleary's daughter Clare (Rachel McAdams) and Jeremy falls for "stage five virgin clinger" Gloria (Isla Fisher).

John and Jeremy get an invitation to Cleary's cottage through Gloria's stomping temper tantrum. From the cheesy "young love" bike ride, to the bad fiance, to the romantic sitting-on-the-beach-telling-each-other-their-secrets love scene between Wilson and McAdams, the movie becomes sickeningly predictable. Even the seagull cries and the music swells right on cue.

As a woman, I was disappointed that none of the female characters, with the possible exception of Clare, seem to have any sort of intelligence. The Cleary mother and Gloria are sex-crazed in true Maxim fashion. I usually get frustrated when people blame the media for objectifying women, but you can see it here. Even when they get married, the relationship between Jeremy and Gloria doesn't go deeper than funky sex.

And it's not just the women. Other characters are cardboard cliches, like the African-American butler and the world-hating gay brother. They come off as more mean-spirited than funny?#34;they're stolen from other movies, have little personality beyond a one-line description and are severely underused.

The plot is riddled with holes. At one point, Mrs. Cleary comes on to John to show off her newly plasticized rack and he partakes, but their encounter is never mentioned again. In another scene, Jeremy gets tied to a bed in the presence of an erotic painting?#34;and after he sneaks in at exactly the wrong time, Mr. Cleary fails to notice the huge ropes binding Jeremy.

This movie has a great premise and talented actors, but because of the flat characters and plot, it fails to follow through. Yes, it's a comedy, but that's not an excuse.

?#34;Diana Oleszczuk

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