Un­pack­ing the end of ‘Wed­ding Crash­ers’

USA TODAY US Edition - - LIFE - Bryan Alexan­der

“Wed­ding Crash­ers” di­rec­tor David Dobkin has been wait­ing more than 15 years to talk about the end­ing of his clas­sic com­edy star­ring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn as im­ma­ture men sneak­ing into wed­dings to en­joy food, cham­pagne and guest com­pan­ion­ship.

Dobkin filmed the elab­o­rate, ex­pen­sive end­ing fea­tur­ing the fi­nale’s two sur­prise true-ro­mance cou­ples – Wilson’s John Beck­with and first love Claire Cleary (Rachel McA­dams) along with Jeremy Grey (Vaughn) and Glo­ria Cleary (Isla Fisher) – rid­ing in an open con­vert­ible past the Wash­ing­ton, D.C., sky­line. As the four set out to­gether for new wed­ding-crash­ing adventures, the fi­nal movie mo­ments fea­ture a lin­ger­ing shot of the Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment.

With the de­bauched com­edy’s 15th an­niver­sary Wed­nes­day, and the re­lease of Dobkin’s “Euro­vi­sion,” star­ring McA­dams and Will Fer­rell (who played orig­i­nal crasher Chazz Rein­hold), the di­rec­tor is tak­ing on big “Wed­ding Crash­ers” is­sues that go be­yond bro­mance. Like that fi­nal shot.

“Af­ter we made the movie, I was sure some­one’s go­ing to ask me about that end­ing and I’m go­ing to have ver­bal­ize it, be­cause I’m the film­maker,” Dobkin tells USA TODAY. “And I re­mem­ber af­ter­wards be­ing like, ‘It’s amaz­ing no one asked why I move off them and tilt to the Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment.’”

Now, Dobkin fi­nally gets his chance to ex­plain the mean­ing and the drama: In one of the most com­pli­cated scenes to make, film­mak­ers co­or­di­nated with police in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal to shut down Con­sti­tu­tion Av­enue dur­ing D.C. rush hour to cap­ture the best view of the mon­u­ment.

“We had over 40 cops clos­ing down al­most ev­ery other street. It was just in­sane, a to­tal mess,” Dobkin says.

But the di­rec­tor was able to ex­e­cute four takes with a crane cam­era fol­low­ing the mov­ing con­vert­ible, pulling up the cam­era for the gleam­ing mon­u­ment mo­ment.

“That’s the kind of thing you re­ally fall on your sword for, the last thing you see in the movie and you want it to be re­ally strong,” Dobkin says.

The mo­ment harks back to the piv­otal scene where Wilson and Vaughn sit on the Lin­coln Me­mo­rial steps talk­ing about life while look­ing up at the in­spi­ra­tional obelisk in the early morn­ing. Grow­ing up in the area, Dobkin used to do the same with his best friend.

“Owen is talk­ing about putting down all this silli­ness and kind of get­ting be­yond this,” says Dobkin, with the mon­u­ment serv­ing “as the goal on the hori­zon that they want to reach.”

At the movie’s end, they two are in real re­la­tion­ships and have ma­tured (within lim­its), re­quir­ing a new view of the mon­u­ment.

“The whole movie to me is a comin­gof-age story of boys to men, where you go from your pri­mary in­ter­ests be­ing sex, to your pri­mary interest be­ing in love. They want to have a deeper con­nec­tion,” adds Dobkin. “So that fi­nal sym­bol shows they have moved close to that goal.”

Clearly it wasn’t all about lofty Wash­ing­to­nian ideals sym­bol­ized on­screen. The shape of the huge obelisk played a big fac­tor in the mon­u­ment cast­ing.

“In the end, they got closer to the big phal­lus in the sky,” Dobkin says.

This evo­lu­tion could con­tinue. Net­flix’s “Euro­vi­sion” was an ac­ci­den­tal “Wed­ding Crash­ers” team-up of Fer­rell and McA­dams. (”A re­union never oc­curred to me, since they never did a ‘Wed­ding Crash­ers’ scene to­gether,” Dobkin says.)

But both stars have said in in­ter­views that they are game for a “Wed­ding Crash­ers” se­quel. Dobkin con­firms that he’s dis­cussed a new script with both Wilson and Vaughn. He’s mum on the de­tails, but “happy” with the script.

“Af­ter 15 years of talk­ing we’re cir­cling an idea that is not go­ing to be the same movie again,” Dobkin says. “We are go­ing to put some time into it and if we come out with some­thing that we think is re­ally great, we’ll make the film. And if not, we won’t.”

RICHARD CARTWRIGHT/NEW LINE CIN­EMA

John Beck­with (Owen Wilson) and and Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn) were not in­vited to this wed­ding, but they cel­e­brated any­way in 2005’s “Wed­ding Crash­ers.”

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