The Hidden Meaning Of Wedding Crashers, According To Its Director

"Wedding Crashers" is most remembered as the raunchy comedy from 2005 that helped kickstart the return of the R-rated romp. But it looks as though it was a lot deeper than we thought.

Starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, "Wedding Crashers" tells the story of two divorce mediators who crash weddings with the sole purpose of picking up women. It's a grim look at the antics of immature young men ... and it all goes sideways when one of them falls in love.

Thankfully, John (Wilson) and Jeremy (Vaughn) show some personal growth through the course of the film. Although initially resistant to the idea of falling in love, John gets more than he bargained on when he meets Claire (Rachel McAdams), the kind of girl that makes him rethink his life. But the real kicker is in the ending.

Director David Dobkin explained it all to USA Today:

"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. And I remember afterwards being like, 'It's amazing no one asked why I move off them and tilt to the Washington Monument.'"

The film's final scene wraps it all up rather neatly ... all through the symbolism of a very famous landmark.

What happens at the end of Wedding Crashers?

"It's wedding season, kid!" But after a whole season of successful crashes, Jeremy meets Gloria — the daughter of U.S. Secretary William Cleary (Christopher Walken).

She's a stage five clinger. Worse still, she tells Jeremy she loves him.

Although that initially sends Jeremy running for the exit, he ends up falling in love with her, too and continues a relationship with Gloria in secret behind John's back. Eventually, the pair get married, and after a bit of soul-searching (thanks to an unforgettable Will Ferrell cameo), John realizes he can't crash weddings forever. In fact, he's in love with Gloria's sister, Claire.

Turning up at the wedding, he confesses his love for her with a speech:

"I crashed weddings to meet girls. Business was good. I met a lot of girls. It was childish and it was juvenile ... But you know what? It also led me to you, so it's hard for me to completely regret it. And that person that you met back at your folks' place? That was really me. Maybe not my name, I'm John Beckwith by the way. Or my job. But the feelings we felt; the jokes, the stupid laughs, that was all me. I've changed."

Thankfully, John gets the girl, and they drive off into the sunset as the camera pulls up to reveal a glimpse of the Washington Monument. But that impressive final shot almost didn't happen.

Wedding Crashers was originally set in Boston

The whole idea for "Wedding Crashers" came about when producer Andrew Panay was invited to his friend's wedding ... and it reminded him of his college days when he and his friend used to crash weddings.

According to Mental Floss, the script was then developed by writers Steve Faber and Bob Fisher, who set the whole thing in Boston and Cape Cod. But producer Peter Abrams noted that it would be too cold to film there in March and April. So director David Dobkin decided to set "Wedding Crashers" in Washington D.C., where he grew up.

And some specific memories from his youth would make it into the film.

"Many times, in my youth, I sat on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial finishing off a long night with a bottle of champagne or wine as the sun was about to rise over the Washington Monument," he said. This exact scene appears in the film when John and Jeremy are sitting near the Lincoln Memorial contemplating their lives while gazing up at the Washington Monument in the distance. "Owen is talking about putting down all this silliness and kind of getting beyond this," said Dobkin, with the Washington Monument in the distance representing a "goal on the horizon that they want to reach."

In the end, it's a clever way of visually representing John's journey throughout the movie. I'm betting that's a bit deeper than you'd have expected from "Wedding Crashers," right?

It's all about a change of perspective

By the end of "Wedding Crashers," both John and Jeremy have grown immeasurably. They've turned their back on their immature, sex-driven lifestyles, choosing to settle down with the women they love.

They literally drive off into the sunset to start new lives.

"The whole movie to me is a coming-of-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," explained Dobkin. That change of perspective is literally reflected with a different view of the monument. "That final symbol shows they have moved close to that goal."

The pair are in real, potentially healthy relationships by the end of the movie, showing a maturity they've lacked throughout the beginning of the film. So, it was important to end with an entirely new view of the monument. Even if it took some organizing. "We had over forty cops closing down almost every other street," said Dobkin. "It was just insane, a total mess."

It took four takes with a crane camera following the convertible as they drive away, then pulling up for that final shot of the Washington Monument. "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," said Dobkin.

The result is a final shot that hammers home the transformative journey the wedding crashers have been through, with their perspective on life dramatically shifting as they head off into the sunset to their new lives. But then ... it also happens to look like a massive penis. Said Dobkin: "In the end, they got closer to the big phallus in the sky."