The Wedding Ringer (Screen Gems), starring Kevin Hart and Josh Gad, premiered in theaters in the United States on January 16, 2015, the same weekend that Kevin Hart also hosted the first Saturday Night Live (SNL) of the new year. The Wedding Ringer is a dramedy that has several funny scenes in it, but the movie has been largely panned by critics.
The original title of The Wedding Ring was going to be The Golden Tux, but the movie, from director Jeremy Garelick (who co-penned the original script) in his directorial debut, has been less-than-golden so far at the box office. According to Forbes, it had a Friday opening of $7 million, which is far behind the earning pace of Kevin Hart’s last January release, Ride Along, which earned $14.4 million the Friday it debuted in theaters last year, on January 17, and $41.5 million its first weekend.
Perhaps The Wedding Ringer‘s ticket sales have been hurt, in part, by the strong showing of the Clint Eastwood-directed film, American Sniper, which had a domestic gross of $30.5 million on Friday. American Sniper, based on the real-life experiences of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, had earned over $3.4 million in a limited release on only four screens, has become a favorite of critics and movie-goers alike.
The Wedding Ringer is about a wedding, but it is more about the friendship that develops between two characters in the movie, between Kevin Hart’s portrayal of professional “Wedding Ringer,” Jimmy Callahan and Josh Gad’s character, Doug Harris, a man who has lied to his fiancée Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Penny from The Big Bang Theory), about all of the friends he has and the adventures he has had with them. Callahan is the owner/CEO of Best Man, Inc.
Doug’s wedding day is just two weeks away, and he calls on the services of Callahan to provide him with a best man, and seven groomsmen, to match the number of women in Gretchen’s bridal party. If Callahan is to be successful in pulling off finding so many people available to pull off Doug’s needs, he will have accomplished something called “The Golden Tux.” No other wedding ringer has ever successfully pulled off “The Golden Tux,” so far. To accomplish this task, Jimmy must call in old favors and get help from some of his colleagues.
One of three particularly humorous parts of The Wedding Ringer is the wedding dance scene with Gad and Hart, which was shown on the Thursday, January 14, episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. In it, Doug (Josh Fad) and Jimmy (Kevin Hart) dance a LOL version of “The Dougie.” The second bit involves a tackle football game between Doug Harris, Callahan, and the seven groomsmen, against Doug’s father-in-law (Ken Howard) and his older pals. The third bit is one about Doug’s bachelor party. It is funny, but might make men in the audience cringe, as it involves peanut butter, a Basset Hound, and…the family jewels.
This Saturday night marks the second time that Kevin Hart will serve as the host of SNL. It is expected that Hart will make jokes about the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday and Selma not having received any other Oscar nominations than one for Best Picture and one for Best Song. His musical guest will be Sia (Chandelier). Hart will, undoubtedly, also plug The Wedding Ringer in his opening monologue of the first SNL of 2015.
Will Kevin Hart’s hosting of SNL this Saturday night help bolster the ticket sales of The Wedding Ringer, which debuted the same weekend, on Friday? That might depend on how successful Hart is as a host this time around. SNL will air tonight at 11:30 p.m. ET/10:30 p.m. CT on NBC. The Kevin Hart/Josh Gad movie runs 101 minutes and is Rated R for crude and sexual content, profanity, drug use and brief nudity. The Wedding Ringer is an enjoyable bromance flick, but it faces strong competition as it is going head-to-head against American Sniper.
Written By Douglas Cobb