Kevin Hart, with the assistance of Josh Gad and Jenifer Lewis, combines his comedic talents with a character which isn’t solely focused on bringing you the laughs. Which strangely is a good thing.
Characters & Story
For years Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart) has masqueraded as people’s best men. Whether it meant pretending to be Jewish, knowing them since high school, or whatever they needed, he did his best to be that best man they needed, get his check, and go. However, after doing it for so many years, sometimes for nice people, other times for douche bags, he comes across Doug (Josh Gad). Someone who comes into Jimmy’s life at a time when his assistant Doris (Jenifer Lewis) points out that he doesn’t have the same mindset and heart he used to have. Leading Jimmy to look at Doug and wonder if perhaps he should stop masquerading as someone’s best man, and best friend, and should just be those two titles.
First let me say, I walked into the movie not expecting much. If only because in 2014 I got a case of Kevin Hart overload. But with it being 6 months since he was the star of a film, and not just in it, I must admit I felt reminded of why I enjoy his comedy. Though perhaps the main reason I enjoyed the film is his shtick of being the Big Little Man wasn’t on display. For with Josh Gad as the person he plays off of, there is a bit more maturity. Which I want to say is in a Seth Rogen film sort of way, but perhaps the best way to explain it is that Jimmy fits all the madness of most of Hart’s characters, but is a bit more reflective. In the sense that while Jimmy cracks jokes, and Hart shows why he had so many films in 2014, at the same time there is more depth to this character.
Take, for example, you can see that between Jimmy’s conversations with Doug and Doris, that he too lacks the ability to have a best man, and also that he does desire more in his life. For while there was a time he loved playing best man and making up these interesting lives, you can see it is taking its toll. Especially as he listens and gets close to Doug for he too would like this lie to be the truth since, like Doug, it doesn’t seem Jimmy has much in the way of friends.
Now, focusing on Josh Gad, and also the character Ed Palmer (Ken Howard), I have to admit they both surprised me, if only because I had no idea who they were. Starting with Gad, honestly what I love about his performance is that he found a way to make Doug a sympathetic character, yet make him someone you don’t feel bad for laughing at sometimes. For while Doug has issues like his parents being dead, and never really having friends, and you can see how that affects the character, Gad finds a way to make it so Doug’s history isn’t just random facts nor something which overburdens Doug. Instead, he makes Doug out to be a full-fledged human being.
As opposed to how Howard plays Ed who seriously is just in the movie for laughs. And when I say he surprised me, I want you to think Betty White in Bringing Down The House, without her being racist. Like, I don’t know if because he was the father of the bride, or an unknown name to me, I thought he would just be a placeholder or what, but seriously, I do think you will walk away from the film almost talking about his character as much as you will Hart’s possibly.
Criticism When it comes to the rest of the cast, though, I won’t say they weren’t funny, but I would say that they don’t have the type of consistency which makes any of them stand out. For while Howard’s character delivered one line, or situation, after another, everyone else had one or two moments and then they sort of fade into the back. Other than that, though, there isn’t much to complain about here.
Overall: TV Viewing
The reason this is being labeled TV Viewing is because, while Kevin Hart has a character with a bit more depth than usual, honestly this just wasn’t as funny as I hoped. For while I laughed around 32 times, I do feel the exploration of Jimmy’s character didn’t match the same efforts put into the jokes. Also, while Howard, Hart, and Gad were funny, and also Lewis on occasion, I felt disappointed everyone else had perhaps one or two good moments and then they were just there. Though perhaps the main reason I’m labeling this TV Viewing is because this film doesn’t have signature or memorable jokes. Making it likely another hit for Hart, but not something you would consider a go to movie if you wanted to introduce a friend to his work.