The Wedding Ringer

Director: Jeremy Garelick (2015)

Failing to sound even the lightest peal of laughter, this sentimental gross-out bromance is a comedy title in need of a movie.

Comic turned actor Kevin Hart is a massive star in the US and the script encourages him to ad lib incessantly – but his sense of humour is lost in translation somewhere over the Atlantic.

Wealthy, fat and friendless, Doug (Josh Gad) can’t bring himself to admit to his bridezilla fiancee Gretchen he has no best man or groomsmen to attend their wedding.

Gretchen is played by Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting and as Penny in TV’s The Big Bang Theory she is charming and funny. But not here.

In desperation Doug turns to the wedding ringer Jimmy Callahan (Hart). He’s a professional best man for hire who operates out of an amusement park basement.

Question of the validity or morality of a service guaranteeing a marriage will begin with an expensive lie are sacrificed on the altar of the bride’s happiness and the success of the big day.

For a the $50,000 fee Jimmy hires a deranged bunch on unemployables to be Doug’s seven groomsmen. In only two weeks he has to train them up to be respectable citizens, each with an extensive invented personal background.

Jimmy himself pretends to be Bic Mitchum, an old university buddy who has joined both the military and the priesthood.

Like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Jimmy insists on no emotional attachment with his clients – but slowly he and Doug start to bond.

There’s drugs, sex workers, a bachelor party, a dog with lockjaw, a bloke with three testicles, a violent game of American football and a granny is set on fire. Doug falls through his glass-topped table for no reason.

Olivia Thirlby appears as Gretchen’s cynical sister Allison. She’s there to confirm Jimmy’s heterosexual status but her talent deserves far better than this and so do we. However Doug, Gretchen and Jimmy all deserve each other.