Vince Vaughn talks so fast in Wedding Crashers that sometimes even he has to slow down and let his brain catch up. As one half of the most successful wolf pack since Frank and the boys prowled Vegas, Vaughn's John Beckwith is the kind of guy who'll just keep piling on the bullshit until you finally give him what he wants. And so is Owen Wilson's Jeremy Grey, John's best friend and fellow divorce mediator. Their styles are different: John rolls right over you, Jeremy slips in the side door. But the result is the same: surrender. For these two comrades-in-arms have found the perfect battlefield for waging war on the opposite sex: weddings.
Not that the opposite sex puts up much of a fight. The premise of Wedding Crashers, which is that women are especially vulnerable when the organist starts playing "Here Comes the Bride," turns the movie into a hubba-hubba male fantasy, complete with the first exposed female breasts I've seen in a mainstream comedy since...well, how long has it been? Like its titular party animals, the movie's lewd and lascivious, and that turns out to be one of the most enjoyable things about it. Finally, Hollywood has thumbed its nose at those warnings that were coming from the public watchdogs in our nation's capital. In fact, the movie's set in Washington, D.C., with numerous shots of that phallic symbol crash, the Washington Monument.
Or is it the Leaning Tower of Pisa? After a wedding-party montage that squeezes a few more drops out of "Shout," Wedding Crashers leaves Animal House behind and heads into There's Something About Mary territory. Which is to say, John and Jeremy meet their matches, get their comeuppances. For John, it's a sexy/crazy woman (Isla Fisher) who's either a virgin or a slut, perhaps both. For Jeremy, it's a beautiful/sweet woman (Rachel McAdams, from The Notebook) who stirs emotions in him that he didn't even realize he had. That the women are also the daughters of the U.S. treasury secretary (Christopher Walken, reining himself in) ups the madcap quotient, but who knew that Wilson had a leading-man lilt behind that slacker-dude drawl?
It probably helps that he was given such tasty dialogue to sink his teeth into. Scriptwriters Steve Faber and Bob Fisher may not have put all the words in Wilson and Vaughn's mouths; the movie has a loose, improvisatory feel. But they've come up with some great lines, like "Shut up when you're talking to me." And director David Dobkin has kept the pace humming, allowed Vaughn's motormouth to go into overdrive, where nobody can touch him. The movie has some lapses, especially in the home stretch. And I would have left the demented gay brother on the cutting-room floor, where he belongs. Otherwise, Wedding Crashers seems like some kind of instant classic, a rousing toast to all those bad boys who grow up to become best men.