"When perfect love comes, the partial will pass away. Just as when I was child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, act like a child. But when I became a man, I put away such childish things." 1 Corinithians 13:10-11
It is ironic that the Scriptural theme of a movie like Wedding Crashers is actually referenced in the film itself: During a church wedding, the two main characters John and Jeremy (Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn) take bets on which Scripture reading will be read at the Mass, and sure enough, it's First Corinthians.
The wedding crashers of this film are two lifelong best friends who have played the summer game of going to weddings, crashing the receptions, and working on getting one-night-stands with as many women as they can. These are truly the acts of two adult "children," two guys who have never really grown out of adolescence. In fact, the two engage in an annual birthday ritual of an overnight sleepover on John's birthday each spring.
John and Jeremy may be adult lawyers in Washington DC, but Wedding Crashers is, at its heart, a coming-of-age story.
(a side note: I was impressed with the fact that the wedding crashers not only attend the receptions, but also the religious marriage ceremony for each wedding they crash; in an age like today, it is a good reminder of the religiosity of marriage).
After seasons of crashing, the film shows that John is finally tired of the experience. He agrees to one last crash, this time at the wedding for the daughter of Treasury Secretary Cleary (Christopher Walken). It is here where John "puts away such childish things" (as 1 Corinithians 14 goes), and falls in love with another of Cleary's daughters, Claire (Rachel McAdams), whom he pursues throughout the rest of the film despite the pleas of Jeremy to move on (and who has his own infatuated girl problems to worry about).
In the midst of exploiting the sacrament of love, here is a boy who has become a man because he found a "perfect love." When St. Paul talks about finding perfect love, he may have not had this movie in mind, but he does extol its virtues in a passage that has almost become cliche: "Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous. It is not pompous. It is not inflated. It is not rude. It does not seek its own interests. It is not quick-tempered or brood over injury. It does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices always with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things." (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
In this film, Claire's boyfriend (and eventually fiancee) represents all those attributes that St. Paul said love is not: jealous, pompous, inflated, rude, brooding over injury, quick-tempered.
On the other hand, John is the antithesis of all of these traits (and even his "wrongdoing" is something he has come to reconcile, beg forgiveness for, and leave behind). Though it takes some time (remember that true love "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things"), John's example of this "perfect love" eventually wins the day.
While Wedding Crashers may offend some sensibilities, it is truly a story of growth and repentance. The story of St. Augustine would need to cover the early excesses and exploits of Augustine's youth. The story of St. Paul would need to cover the killing sprees of Christians that defined his life before finding Christ.
In fact, there is one scene in the film where Jeremy feels the need to confess his sins to the family priest (albiet over a few drinks, but the sacramental concept is still there). Reconciliation awaits all those who seek God's mercy and forgiveness.
We, like the wedding crashers, are sinners and in need of growth. We must pray that we, like John and Jeremy, are open to positive change in our lives so that we, like St. Paul, can one day boast: "I have put away such childish things!"