The Groomsmen

The Groomsmen

1.5 out of 51.5 out of 51.5 out of 51.5 out of 5 1.5

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Like Adam Sandler, Ed Burns is fixated on men who can’t grow up, but Sandler mines this immature terrain for ribald laughs where Burns tackles stunted adolescence through the filter of mushy seriocomic melodrama. With The Groomsmen, Burns deliberately strives to capture the blend of boy’s-boy humor and testosterone-tinged sappiness that powered his breakout The Brothers McMullen, focusing on the travails of thirtysomething Long Island friends struggling to act their age on the eve of Paulie’s (Burns) wedding to pregnant fiancé Sue (Brittany Murphy). It’s an enterprise that—besides confirming Burns’s own arrested development as a storyteller—mainly reaps embarrassingly familiar results, the film a creaky male weepy in which guys are emotionally reticent yet deep-down sensitive, women are loyal but constant nags, and most relationship-related problems can be solved with some tearful hugging and kissing. The daunting responsibilities of marriage and parenthood are what trouble Burns’s rudimentary characters, all of whom—whether it be emasculated, strip-club-frequenting big brother Jimbo (Donal Logue), family man Dez (Matthew Lillard), or adolescent cousin Mike (Jay Mohr)—are united, despite various successes in life and love, by their juvenile impulses. The men’s maturation into responsible adults involves a combination of earnest heart-to-hearts (including a surprisingly affecting soliloquy about paternity by Lillard), a few scuffles, and plenty of alcohol, with Burns romanticizing the camaraderie of his buffoonish protagonists with inelegant crane shots and camera pull backs, as well as celebrating their tolerance via each’s compassionate reaction to estranged gay pal T.C.‘s (John Leguizamo) coming-out revelation. As with his ridiculous cry of “gay pride!” right before T.C. confronts his small-minded father, Mohr’s childish loudmouth occasionally offers relief from both the film’s intense earnestness and leading man Burns’s bland, one-expression-fits-all presence. Generally, though, there’s little respite from the bargain-bin cheesiness of The Groomsmen, the type of unintentionally goofy schmaltzfest that has Mike, with an oddly straight face, sing along to “Only The Lonely” because he’s, you know, lonely.

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DVD | Soundtrack
Distributor
Bauer Martinez Studios
Runtime
93 min
Rating
R
Year
2006
Director
Edward Burns
Screenwriter
Edward Burns
Cast
Edward Burns, Brittany Murphy, Donal Logue, John Leguizamo, Matthew Lillard, Jay Mohr