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