The Groomsmen

Triple-threat Edward Burns' greatest strength and worst weakness are one and the same: No thought passes through his head without being incorporated into the script he happens to be writing. The pleasant surprise of this drama about old friends gathered for a wedding is that his thoughts have grown somewhat more interesting, though his infelicitous knack...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Triple-threat Edward Burns' greatest strength and worst weakness are one and the same: No thought passes through his head without being incorporated into the script he happens to be writing. The pleasant surprise of this drama about old friends gathered for a wedding is that his thoughts have grown somewhat more interesting, though his infelicitous knack for dialogue that alternates between the painfully clunky and the perfectly pitched remains the same. Journalist Paulie (Burns) is getting married to his seven-months-pregnant girlfriend, Sue (Brittany Murphy), and his groomsmen are gathering from points near and far to help him prepare for the ceremony, which means a week packed with softball games, rehearsals (as in "dudes, we’re getting the old band back together!"), fishing, golf and drinks at the local bar owned by their pal Dez (Matthew Lillard), who married early and settled comfortably into the role of solid father and husband. Paulie's cousin Mike (Jay Mohr), by contrast, lives right across the street in the house he grew up in, deluding himself that he stays at home because his dad (John O'Donohue) needs him, and obsessing about his ex-girlfriend Jen (Jessica Capshaw). Paulie's gone-to-seed older brother, Jimbo (Donal Logue), and his wife, Julianne (Heather Burns), are going through a rough patch, and high-school pal T.C. (John Leguizamo) has come back to town under a cloud: Seven years earlier he left town without a word to anyone and — adding injury to insult — stole Mike's absolute, positive, all-time-favorite Tom Seaver baseball card. The main event is blue-collar male bonding — wives, fiancées, girlfriends and strippers are just adjuncts to the guys' thorny angst — and with the exception of the reliably wooden Burns, the ensemble is terrific: Career goofball Lillard is an absolute revelation as the clear-eyed, hands-on dad who ditched his rock-and-roll dreams before they broke his heart. Mohr, Logue and Leguizamo are stuck with one-note characters and still manage to spark real life into them — Leguizamo deserves real kudos for making what he does of T.C., who is the film's walking lesson in how to undermine elitist clichés about working-class Long Island. Not only is he the gang's token Latino, but he split all those years ago so he wouldn't have to tell his friends he's gay. And wouldn't you know, they don't care a bit.

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  • Released: 2006
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Triple-threat Edward Burns' greatest strength and worst weakness are one and the same: No thought passes through his head without being incorporated into the script he happens to be writing. The pleasant surprise of this drama about old friends gathered fo… (more)

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