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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

The Wedding Ringer movie review: manfriendwhore for sale

The Wedding Ringer red light

A festering pile of fatphobic, homophobic, sexist, grossout garbage in which men are manipulative liars but women are worse.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): the premise sounded awful

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

I’ve said it before, but it has never been more applicable than with The Wedding Ringer: there is nothing men can do, no matter how base or despicable, that cannot be celebrated on film. This movie thinks it is a tragi-comedy lamenting the state of modern manhood, which leaves so many men without strong male friendships. And this truly is a bad thing, and there is perhaps a funny and touching movie to be made about that. But this festering pile of fatphobic, homophobic, sexist, child- and grandma-abusing, grossout garbage is not it. Doug (Josh Gad: Frozen) has literally no friends he can ask to be in his wedding party for his impending nuptials to Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting). Oh, he’s been lying about the existence of friends, and he’s gotten away with this because… why? His bride-to-be doesn’t think it strange that she has never met any of his “friends”? But Gretchen is far from alone in being an easily manipulated lady-dupe, because Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart: This Is the End) has built an entire business out of supplying himself as a fake best man at the weddings of men who have done the same thing, and gotten away with it! The brides never catch on, the stupid shallow bitches: they got their fairy-tale wedding and snagged a husband, so it’s all good. Enter Jimmy to help Doug in his moment of panic, and it gets worse from there. This is an all-around appalling depiction of both genders, although women get the worst of it. Because for all their lying, cheating, cowardly, desperate, deplorable scumbag behavior, ultimately Doug and Jimmy console themselves with this soothing fact: at least they’re not women.


See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of The Wedding Ringer for its representation of girls and women.


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The Wedding Ringer (2015)
US/Can release: Jan 16 2015
UK/Ire release: Feb 20 2015

MPAA: rated R for crude and sexual content, language throughout, some drug use and brief graphic nudity
BBFC: rated 15 (strong language, sex references, drug use)

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • RogerBW

    If we’re playing in Stereotype Land, the bride ought to be glad the groom has no friends, because that way she doesn’t have to prevent him from ever seeing them again.

  • Jurgan

    So, this is a bromance version of The Wedding Date? I imagine Doug and Jimmy become best friends by the end, and maybe Doug breaks up with his fiancee because wise Jimmy shows him he doesn’t need a woman?

  • bronxbee

    i don’t understand, if this guy doesn’t have even *one* male friend, how did he manage to capture the heart (?) and hand of this woman? because, what possible social skills does he bring to the table?

  • RogerBW

    Even if he has social skills, how has he managed to meet a woman (and get to know her well enough to marry her) _without_ making male friends too?

  • SPOILERS

    You’re correct on the first. And the wedding does indeed get called off, but only because Doug discovers that Gretchen was settling for him.

  • He’s a Nice Guy. He’s naturally desirable for his money and his talent as a doormat.

  • Interesting comment. I can honestly say that I do not even have one friend, male or female, besides me wife. I suppose I would consider a co-worker or two a friend, but I’ve never done anything with any of them outside of work.

    All the things I enjoy doing are solitary activities, or are best done(IMHO) alone. Gardening, movies, video games, reading, etc.

    My social skills are just fine, thanks. I’m not out there giving public speeches, but I have no issues with people at work, volunteering, or doing anything else. I’m an introverted person who prefers the company of plants over people.
    BTW, I met my wife through a mutual friend(yeah, I had one or two at one point in my life). She asked ME out. We’ve been married for 16 years. My best, and only, friend.

  • I think it’s true of many men that their only close emotional support comes from their wives or girlfriends. It’s why men fare poorly after a divorce, and why so many tend to remarry so quickly.

    In this movie, the guy doesn’t even have male buddies to hang out with and watch football while they avoid having any meaningful conversations, so he’s an extreme example of a reality for many men.

  • Ok, so he actually wants some friends. That’s different, as I am perfectly content the way things are. I don’t even know how I would find time for them, even if I had any. Weird thought, huh?
    This movie looks awful, regardless of the conversation. Thanks

  • Richard Climer

    So is this place the tumblr of movie sites or what?

  • Meaning what? I presume you are attempting to insult me, but I’m not clear how. How does this review make me “the tumblr of movie sites”?

  • Richard Climer

    I’m confused as to how the movie is “fatphobic”

  • I don’t understand how that is a response to the question I asked.

    But to answer your question: He breaks his own desk by sitting on it in the opening scene. That’s a fat “joke.”

    Now, would you care to answer *my* question?

  • Richard Climer

    I’m pretty sure that happened because the table was made of GLASS. Not meant for sitting no matter what the weight. Regardless, prat-falling is one of the oldest tropes in comedy and frankly i believe being offended by it in this day and age to be pretty damn stupid (I can say that. I’m 298 myself.)

    But yeah, by tumblr I meant finding “offensive” things where there aren’t any.

  • Understood. Thank you for alerting me to what I may and may not be offended by. Very helpful.

  • Mr P

    I know I’m being manipulated in this film and I accept that fact. Is the humour at times insulting? Yes’ it is on many levels but it is what I accept for this genre of movie. The grandma lit on fire and then dismissed as unimportant wasn’t funny but the dog and the peanut butter was. Are their important life lessons we can learn from this movie and will I spend more than a minute sharing it with my friends . No. But it was mildly entertaining.

  • Life by Design

    I just had the misfortune of watching this. Apart from the slapstick “humour”, the misogyny and overt sexism of this movie really pissed me off. Not because of their existence in the first place, but because of how acceptable it was portrayed as.

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