We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
In Hollywood, D.C. landmarks are rarely more than cinematic shorthand. But it’s entirely appropriate that the Washington Monument makes a priapic appearance or two in The Wedding Crashers. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson play Jeremy Klein and John Beckwith, a pair of District-based divorce mediators who get their manly kicks by sneaking into wedding receptions for the free booze and loose bridesmaids. When the two womanizers are invited back for an extended stay at the posh estate of U.S. Secretary of the Treasury William Cleary (Christopher Walken) after making a good impression on him during one of his daughters’ nuptials, they’re more than up to the challenge—even if it does break half of their ridiculous, secret-society-ish rules of wedding-crashing. It may not be the most plausible set-up in the world for even a stoopid romantic comedy, but it pays off when director David Dobkin and first-time film scripters Steve Faber and Bob Fisher introduce the rest of the Cleary clan. From the seductress wife with the fake rack (Jane Seymour) to the nymphomaniac youngest daughter (Isla Fisher) to the Conor Oberst– look– alike tortured-artist son (Keir O’Donnell), Faber and Fisher take full advantage of their supporting characters’ comedic potential. A furious under-the-table hand job and a lovingly painted nude portrait are but two of the many guffaw-inducing sexual advances the Cleary children make on Jeremy—ever the dedicated wingman—while John is off wooing the secretary’s only sane offspring, Claire (Rachel McAdams). Vaughn and Wilson, meanwhile, display an effortless and unsurprising chemistry as cads who aren’t above using faux Purple Hearts to get free drinks and boasting, “We’ve been to a million weddings and guess what? We’ve rocked them all!” The romantic part of the whole romantic-comedy thing, however, is where The Wedding Crashers falters. Ho-hum courtships that bog down the final two-thirds of a film are an epidemic across the genre, and the would-be relationship between John and Claire adds little to the otherwise hilarious proceedings besides running time—which, at 119 minutes, is just shy of the limit on the Zone 2 parking sign in front of John’s home. —Matthew Borlik