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Heroes of the Zeroes: Wedding Crashers

by on November 27, 2010

Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.

“Wedding Crashers”
Rated R

The hype was not to be believed on 2005’s “Wedding Crashers” about its festival of crazy, raunchy, inappropriate behavior. Extremely funny and entertaining, it also was — cue the falling fist of a pumped-up frat boy — kind of a chick flick.

Naturally, the R-rated take has teeth a PG-13 version would not. But Playboy would better serve those seeking skin. The movie was, at heart, a well-mannered, well-meaning look at the errors of two aging Lotharios’ ways.

John (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) are two smooth-talking divorce mediators who crash weddings to bed misty-eyed bridesmaids and guests.

At the “Kentucky Derby of weddings” involving Treasury Secretary Cleary (Christopher Walken), they’re surrounded by a clan of sexual miscreants and — as John longs for the instantly likeable Claire (Rachel McAdams) — the idea of hanging it up.

Vaughn could be Trent from “Swingers” 10 years later, earning the R in nearly all of his scenes and at his comedic best. He’s matched by piled-up weirdness by Isla Fisher. And the Cleary family’s oddities surface at the right moments.

But “Crashers” remembers Claire is a real person hidden among the kooks — making questionable decisions about her life to keep the family together. It’s easy to see why John falls for he and the best possible irony that a strong female character turns up in a movie about womanizers.

Through Claire, and other approaches, “Crashers” wisely favored sophistication over shock value. How you felt about that depended on your inner child’s open-mindedness.

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