I’m not sure why so many critics are complaining this is a big commercial for Google. It’s one product that isn’t going to get more people using it after watching the movie. It’s not like after we saw Cast Away with Tom Hanks, we went out and sent packages with Fed Ex – or sales in Wilson volleyballs spiked (see what I did there?).
That’s just the set up for where Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers) get internships, after John Goodman fires them from their job selling watches.
The movie definitely doesn’t have the same raunchy shenanigans Wedding Crashers had, and that will disappoint some. The characters charming nature and the heart of the movie is enough to win people over, even if a lot of the jokes aren’t laugh out loud funny. Although I can name at least five scenes that had me and the rest of the theatre rolling – one of those the video-conference with The Office’s B.J. Novak.
A few other names steal the scenes they’re in. The Daily Show’s Aasif Mandri – as the tough boss, cracks me up every time I see a commercial and hear him say “No, I will not be having ‘a beer’ with you!”
Former Daily Show and comedic actor Rob Riggle shows up late in the movie as a salesman that has a technique for sales that is outrageous fun.
John Goodman may have been wasted in this role (as he was in Hangover 3), but Will Ferrell has the crowd rolling with his one scene as a mattress salesman.
This is kind of like Death of a Salesman, if put in a School of Rock comedy blender. Yet, one of the problems School of Rock had (aside with just not being all that funny), is that Jack Black spends most of the movie being a selfish jerk. Having Vaughn and Wilson care about these kids right from the start, makes it a fun (albeit cliched) underdog story. The fish-out-of-water antics are timely in this technology driven era.
Some jokes younger people won’t get. Those would include lots of references to Flashdance, and one to actor Bill Holden and Stalag 17. I still think the jokes work because of Vaughn’s delivery. For example, a scene of him singing along to Alanis Morissette shouldn’t be funny, but it is.
The movie starts with Vaughn’s girlfriend leaving him in a scene reminiscent of Billy Murray’s intro in Stripes.
It’s not like this movie has any surprises, or even much originality. We don’t need to wonder if Owen Wilson will get the woman (Rose Byrne) that’s clearly out of his league, or whether or not this rag-tag set of kids that nobody else wanted on a team, we’ll be able to pull a Revenge of the Nerds style comeback in all the competitions.
For every joke that worked, there are scenes that didn’t work; one of those being the young guy that runs their group at Google. He’s the typical nerd that likes to talk in third person and rap lyrics.
A handful of setpieces are overextended, especially a trip to a strip club that never really goes anywhere (but would’ve probably been hysterical in Wedding Crashers).
Director Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Pink Panther, Cheaper by the Dozen) could’ve trimmed 20 minutes out of this two hour movie, but you’re never really bored watching it.
The movie was co-written and produced by Vince Vaughn; and if he’s going to keep writing scripts, I’d like to see him avoid the man-child characters he and Ferrell keep doing (remember how brilliant Swingers was?)…but at least this movie made me forget the lame Role Models and Larry Crowne – which could be the worst Tom Hanks movie ever made.
While watching the credits, I noticed former UCSD student and comedian Jimmy Ouyang was listed. He’s a friend, and I remembered he put a photo on his Facebook page standing next to Vince Vaughn. I asked him if he could give us a story about the movie. He said “Unfortunately, my scene was cut out due to time constraints. It will most likely be in the DVD deleted scenes. I was playing ping pong with Vaughn and we were speaking Mandarin to each other.”
I prodded him for more on the scene and he laughed, saying “I don’t know how much I want to brag telling a story about a scene that didn’t even make it into the movie, but…it was super fun working with Vince and Owen. They were both nice and pretty good ping pong players. Owen especially. He seemed liked a natural. Being a stand-up comedian turned actor, it was quite surreal to work with such comedy legends. I was a little bummed that the scene didn’t make it on the big screen, but it was a wonderful experience shooting the film.”
And I think most people that see it will have a wonderful experience watching it. It’s certainly not going to make the $200 million Wedding Crashers pulled in, but it’s going to be a hit – despite the bad reviews it’s getting.
3 out of 5 stars for Wedding Crashers 2 – Electric Google-oo.