TV Review: 'Wedding Crashers' leads to boring trip down the aisle
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Tana Hayes, NBC
In "The Real Wedding Crashers," Hampton High School graduate Steve Byrne, center, "officiates" at the marriage ceremony of Jonnie Duncan and Derek Duncan.
By Rob Owen Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
For fans of quality scripted dramas, a dark cloud hangs over NBC's 10 p.m. Monday time slot. Last fall, it was home to "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," Aaron Sorkin's imperfect ode to television. More recently, the time slot welcomed "The Black Donnellys," a dark, gritty crime drama about a family of thugs from Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco, the team behind the Oscar-winner "Crash."
When: 10 p.m. Monday on NBC.
Starring: Steve Byrne.
But starting Monday, the time slot becomes home to that sworn enemy of quality drama: another reality show.
NBC's "The Real Wedding Crashers" borrows the concept of the comedic movie "Wedding Crashers" and gives it a "Punk'd" re-write. Not surprisingly, "Real Wedding Crashers" is executive-produced by the guys behind "Beauty and the Geek" and "Punk'd," Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg.
Unlike "Beauty and the Geek," which benefits greatly from its characters, "Real Wedding Crashers" has no particular sweetness, no characters to invest in. There's simply a team of improv actor crashers who attempt to make weddings in Las Vegas memorable. Don't worry, the bride and groom are in on the joke, but their wedding guests are not. So when the minister answers his ringing cell phone during the ceremony and proceeds to have a conversation, everyone in attendance is aghast.
There's a reason the old "Candid Camera" was a half-hour and contained multiple hidden camera gags. The concept gets a little old at any more than a half-hour. But that doesn't stop "Real Wedding Crashers" from squandering an entire hour. The result is a show that's more boring than funny, an investment of entertainment time that's not worth making.
Monday's premiere includes gags before the wedding -- a ruined wedding dress and trip to a tailor, fumigators ridding the ceremony location of pests ("like fleas, but with legs and teeth!") and a police bust of groomsmen smoking Cuban cigars -- and during the ceremony and reception. Crasher/narrator Gareth Reynolds removes plates before people are done with their meals.
"Dude! What the hell?" complains one irked wedding guest.
"I'm sorry," Gareth says, taking a break sitting at a table with wedding guests. "I took Nyquil."
Stand-up comedian Steve Byrne, a 1992 Hampton High School graduate, is among the five improv actors in the regular cast of "Real Wedding Crashers." He plays the tailor and minister in Monday's episode.
Byrne said he narrates the second episode, in which he plays a psychic who impresses a friend of the bride.
"It's truly amazing what you can get away with with these shows," Byrne said by phone Monday. "Every week we'd get a breakdown of what will happen, and I would say there's no way in hell we're going to pull this off. Nobody will buy this. But week after week, the things we got away with, it was just unbelievable. It's hands down one of the funniest experiences I've ever had in my life, professionally and personally."
Goldberg said New Line, the studio behind the "Wedding Crashers" movie, brought the reality idea to the production company he runs with Kutcher.
"I wouldn't call this a reality show," Goldberg said. "Not many reality shows out there have story lines starting in the first couple of acts and finishing in the final acts. It's a real good marriage of both worlds. In most reality, you watch game play. This is live improv, none of it is scripted, so it's really a hybrid."
Kutcher said for a bride and groom, their wedding is bound to be unforgettable, but that's not always the case for guests. "Wedding Crashers" aims to change that.
"In order to keep this show as lighter fare and something that's enjoyable, we made it our goal not to ruin a wedding or create a big catastrophe," he said. "We want it to be something they can't forget and all have a good time at."
Viewers will have to decide for themselves whether or not to accept the invitation.
First Published April 19, 2007 7:56 pm