Someday and hopefully soon, a comedic vehicle will come along to match the charisma and talent that Kevin Hart clearly possesses. It wasn’t Ride Along. It wasn’t Get Hard from last year. And it’s not The Wedding Ringer from two years past, which sprinkles in an occasional laugh when it’s not overdoing it by setting grandmothers on fire or extending a peanut butter/dog joke (yep…) far longer than it should.
The concept is simplistic and silly: Hart is Jimmy Callahan, who offers his services as a best man to guys who can’t find one. His latest project is a difficult one as Doug (Josh Gad) not only is without a lead guy to stand beside him – he has no groomsmen period. Doug is a big teddy bear and successful tax attorney who’s still in shock he landed a hottie (Kelly Cuoco-Sweeting) to say “I do”. Jimmy recruits a band of misfits to fill out the wedding party and assumes the identity of Bic Mitchum, a priest with military experience, for his role.
The Wedding Ringer then embarks upon a series of adventures for the twosome as they attempt to keep up their well-intentioned scheme, all in sitcom type scenarios (albeit R rated ones). Jimmy has a hard and fast rule to not actually become friends with his clients, but Doug tests it. The groom also begins to question just how much he is in love with his fiancee. Parties happen. Cliched football games with the father in law do, too. Uncomfortable family meals result in the aforementioned engulfed granny, played by Cloris Leachman. Then there’s that unfortunate peanut butter incident.
It basically comes down to this – despite a few genuinely humorous touches, most of Ringer is sophomoric, generic, and just not very funny. Despite their best efforts, both Hart and Gad deserve better, though they do share a pretty decent chemistry together. I’ll give this the distinction of being just slightly more tolerable than Hart’s Ride Along and Get Hard. That isn’t saying a lot.
** (out of four)