Volume 75, Number 14 | August 24 - 30, 2005

Koch On Film

By Ed Koch

“Wedding Crashers” (+)
This is a marginal movie just over the cusp of acceptability. It is somewhat gross and definitely not for children.

Two single guys, John (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy (Vince Vaughn), regularly crash weddings to meet women whom they often find are hot to trot. A major wedding that they crash is the daughter of U.S. Treasury Secretary Cleary (Christopher Walken). In one facial expression, Walken can convey a dozen emotions, and with that Boris Karloff haircut, he brings levity to the spoof.
After the ornate wedding, John and Jeremy are invited to spend the weekend at Secretary Cleary’s mansion with his family. The audience roars as Jeremy is the subject of deviant behavior by one of Cleary’s daughters, Gloria (Isla Fisher), while they are sitting at the dinner table surrounded by three generations of the Cleary family. Later on Gloria enters the sleeping Jeremy’s bedroom and ties him to the bedpost. When she is finished, her gay brother, Todd (Keir O’Donnell), enters the room and crawls into bed with the still bound Jeremy.

Meanwhile, John is seeking to have a solid relationship with another Cleary daughter, Claire (Rachel McAdams), who is engaged to a snotty preppy, Sack (Bradley Cooper), scion of another famous family. Occasionally, violence erupts between the two young men in connection with their rivalry.

The movie features impersonations, social climbing and sex. It mocks both gays and lesbians in a general manner of political incorrectness, but it also makes fun of straight people who appear foolish, scheming and sex driven. All in all, it is about romps in the hay which the actors perform with levity producing some belly laughs along the way.
“Pretty Persuasion” (-)
This parody involving three high-school girls is pretty boring.

Kimberly (Evan Rachel Wood) is a foul-mouthed, destructive, manipulating, promiscuous girl and the leader of the trio. Randa (Adi Schnall) an innocent, observant Muslim who wears a headscarf takes to the lifestyle of her girlfriends discarding her own values. An air-head named Brittany (Elisabeth Harnois) wants a close friend which she believes she has found in Kimberly. Brittany will do whatever her mentor asks of her which is plenty, namely to participate in a bizarre plot to destroy the professional career of their high school English and Drama teacher, Percy (Ron Livingston).

Livingston outside of this movie is a handsome, superb actor who was excellent in “Sex and the City,” and “Band of Brothers.” In this film he is ridiculously made up, particularly his hair, to the point of distraction. James Woods plays the role of Kimberly’s father, Hank. I found him to be over the top in this role in which he constantly utters the vilest of anti-Semitic comments and appears willing to eat the furniture.

The plot involves anal and oral sexual encounters, apparently not that enjoyable to the participants, and somewhat painful for the audience to watch. In the end, the film is no longer a parody or satire but simply ridiculous. The plot might have made it as a sitcom on television in the genre of “All In the Family,” but it is not a full-length movie.

How did I come to see this film? I read Stephen Holden’s review in The New York Times in which he wrote, “Pretty Persuasion is so gleefully nasty that the fact that it was even made and released is astonishing. Much of it is also extremely funny.” Fortunately, you have me as the intermediary, and I urge you to stay away.

- Ed Koch

If you decide to see this flick, let me know by e-mail how you would have rated it. (eikoch@bryancave.com)

- Ed Koch

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