Wedding Crashers appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I felt the image looked terrific.
Sharpness was consistently solid. From close shots to wide images, the movie remained well-defined and concise. I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes stayed away from the picture. No source flaws popped up to mar the presentation.
Colors were subdued at times, with a bit of a golden tone on display. Nonetheless, the hues looked well-rendered, with some vivid elements available when appropriate. Blacks came across as dark and tight, and shadows showed nice clarity. Overall, this was an appealing transfer.
As for the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Wedding Crashers, it seemed fine for this sort of movie. The soundfield featured a restricted scope typical of comedies. The vast majority of the audio focused on the forward channels. Music presented fine stereo imaging, but the rest of the mix was pretty lackluster. The soundscape featured a decent sense of ambience but not much else. If any prominent scenes occurred, I can’t recall them.
This meant a decidedly unimpressive presence in the rear speakers. They added a little reinforcement to the music and effects, but I can’t say they did much for me. Again, I can’t remember anything back there that stood out as notable.
Audio quality worked fine. Speech was crisp and clear, without edginess or other problems. Music was excellent, as the songs and score presented nice range and impact. Effects didn’t have much to do, but they sounded accurate and created no problems. This was a more than adequate mix for a film of this sort.
How did this Blu-ray compare to the original DVD release? Audio was cleaner and a bit more vibrant, while visuals seemed much improved. The DVD came with inconsistent picture quality, but the Blu-ray appeared considerably more detailed and vivid.
Almost all of the DVD’s extras repeat here. In addition to the flick’s theatrical version (1:59:03), we get an extended unrated cut (2:07:00). The latter includes at least eight added or extended scenes. Here’s what I found that was different:
-Jeremy gets busted by a former conquest at Christina’s wedding;
-John and Cleary talk more about Todd;
-Jeremy and Gloria chat on the beach before they have sex;
-Jeremy and Gloria interact more after the football game;
-John and Todd after John’s gropes Kathleen
-Jeremy finds grandma in his bed and carries her to her own;
-More with Jeremy and John at breakfast;
-More with Jeremy and his heart-to-heart with Father O’Neil.
Please don’t take this as an authoritative listing of the cut scenes, as I may have missed something. I think I cover all of the alterations, but I could be wrong.
As I noted in the body of my review, the theatrical Crashers was already too long, so the extra few minutes makes it even more slow-paced. That said, I liked much of what I saw. I really enjoyed the bit in which John and Jeremy try to cover their tracks with the former conquest, and most of the others are entertaining and amusing as well. I won’t argue they definitely should have stayed in the final cut, though I think these scenes might have been good, especially if the filmmakers removed some other material that made the theatrical edition drag.
Alongside the extended cut, we get two audio commentaries. The first one presents director David Dobkin via a running, screen-specific chat. He offers an almost scholarly look at his film. Dobkin covers the movie’s themes and tone, casting and collaboration with the actors, changes from the original script and additions for the “Uncorked” edition, visual design and the use of Washington as a setting, story and characters, ratings issues, and general shooting notes.
The only real negative comes from all the praise Dobkin heaps on the participants; the piece becomes a real lovefest at times. Nonetheless, Dobkin provides an insightful and intelligent examination of his work. He delves into the thought processes behind the movie and makes this a winning track.
For the second commentary, we hear from actors Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. Both sit together in this running, screen-specific track. Don’t expect a lot of notes about making the movie. Occasionally they chat about Crashers, and we get their perspectives on locations, characters, and the other performers.
Especially during the film’s first half, Wilson and Vaughn just yak together. They talk about school experiences, acting in their early days, dating, childhood discipline, and what football games they watched that day. Potentially this could have been amusing, but instead the track just meanders. There’s a lot of dead air and little to entertain or inform us.
Matters improve during the flick’s second half. Vaughn and Wilson dig more deeply into their characters and the story, which means they actually provide some decent insights. They simply narrate the movie too much of the time, but at least you’ll learn something from the last hour of the movie. Nonetheless, the commentary is too inconsistent to be a good one.
Four Deleted Scenes last a total of seven minutes, 49 seconds. We get “Cleary Tests John”, “Jeremy Consoles John”, “Bluefish” and “99 Red Balloons”. All are pretty good, and most could have stayed in the final cut. Only “Balloons” deserved the axe, but not because it’s bad; this karaoke scene was a good omission just because it’s too long.
We can watch the scenes with or without commentary from Dobkin. He tells us why he excised the pieces and tosses out a few production notes. He doesn’t add great insight, but he does his job acceptably well.
Next we get a featurette called Event Planning. This 11-minute, 35-second piece presents movie clips, behind the scenes elements, and interviews. We hear from Dobkin, Vaughn, Wilson, costume designer Denise Wingate, set decorator Garret Lewis, producer Andrew Panay, screenwriters Steve Farber and Bob Fisher, wedding coordinator Lovelynn van der Horst, magic and balloon consultant Michael Stellman, and actors Christopher Walken, Rachel McAdams, and Jane Seymour.
The show looks at creating all the different weddings, the interaction between Vaughn and Wilson, and Dobkin’s work. A general promotional piece, I wish “Planning” delved more deeply into all the challenges related to staging the various ceremonies. Those elements are interesting, but the rest of the program feels like a glorified trailer.
The Rules of Wedding Crashing goes for seven minutes, 27 seconds. The featurette includes remarks from Vaughn and Wilson. They simply discuss some of the rules of crashing weddings and give us a look at the movie. It’s entertaining but insubstantial.
In the Trailers domain, we find the movie’s teaser and theatrical clips. Lastly, we find a music video for the Sights’ “Circus”. It’s a boring lip-synch video, but the song’s a decent rocker.
Does the Blu-ray lose anything from the DVD? Yup – it axes a fun text piece called “The Rules of Wedding Crashing”.
One of 2005’s biggest hits, Wedding Crashers made its money the old-fashioned way: it earned an audience through positive word of mouth. That doesn’t ensure a movie will be good, but I think it’s quite funny and likable despite a mix of flaws. The Blu-ray provides excellent visuals, decent audio and a mix of reasonably useful supplements. I like this film and think the Blu-ray brings it home well.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of WEDDING CRASHERS