The Wedding Singer (1998)   3/53/53/53/53/5


Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore as Robbie and Julia in The Wedding Singer

I Love the 80's

Once upon a time there was a fresh faced comedian by the name of Adam Sandler whose humour brought joy to millions, well a few hundred people, but over the years it became apparent that in fact Sandler was a one trick pony and all of his movies were very much the same. Thankfully before anyone got tired of his repetitive acting and juvenile comedy he delivered one of the most enjoyable movies to come from the 90s, that being the hugely funny "The Wedding Singer" a romantic-comedy set in the 80s where bad hair, bad fashion and cheesy music ruled the scene.

It's 1985 and popular wedding singer, come master of ceremonies Robbie Hart (Adam Sandler - Big Daddy) is looking forward to his own big day. But when his bride to be leaves him standing at the altar, his life and career is thrown into turmoil as he hits rock bottom. It's not until newly acquainted Julia (Drew Barrymore - E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial), a waitress at wedding receptions, talks Robbie out of his doldrums by getting him to help with her own wedding preparations. But as they spend time together Robbie starts to get feelings for Julia, as she starts to doubt the man she is engaged to marry is right for her.

Ellen Albertini Dow as Rosie in The Wedding Singer

To be honest "The Wedding Singer" is not that different to any of the many other movies which Sandler has fronted, it has the same gags, the same cast and of course Sandler whose main ability is to lose his temper and shout at which point we are meant to laugh. But, the one thing "The Wedding Singer" achieves is to take us back to the glorious, yes I did say glorious, 80s and in doing so warms the hearts of those who grew up during this fun time.

The story behind "The Wedding Singer" is as safe and play-it-by numbers as you can possibly get, and within the first 15 minutes you can guess where the film will lead and even which route of predictable troubled love it will chose to take. In the tradition of predictable romantic-comedies we have the boy-girl turbulent love affair, which in the case of "The Wedding Singer" features recently dumped Robbie and the soon to be married Julia. But by no means is it the plot which keeps you watching and not really the comedy either as all the gags have been done literally millions of times before and since.

But there are many moments and scenes of charming hilarity especially as we get to laugh at the hilarious fashions of the 80's, including big hair and leg warmers as well as several wedding reception scenes where you cringe when you recognize some of the bad dancing that seems to haunt all wedding receptions, real or fake. But that is the key to "The Wedding Singer" popularity, it touches the hearts of those who remember the 80s with a fondness and wish to reminisce in full retro tastelessness.

There is no doubt in my mind that a huge contributing factor in the success of "The Wedding Singer" is the casting of the queen of romantic-comedies, Drew Barrymore in the lead role of Julia. As has become her trademark in these sorts of movies, she is cute, adorable, vulnerable but also amazingly funny. The interactions between not only Barrymore and Sandler but the entire cast are brilliant and show that she has amazing comic timing. But of course this is first and foremost an Adam Sandler vehicle and so designed to highlight his talents, well actually lack of them to be honest. Yes he is funny, at times, and his singing is also charming and surprisingly enjoyable but the jokes seem repetitive and by the end of the movie you definitely start to groan.

For me one of the redeeming factors of "The Wedding Singer" is that it was made prior to Sandler filling nearly all his movies with his best friends, making this slightly different and in some ways more enjoyable than the movies he has released since. Out of all the supporting performances there are two which truly deserve a mention those of Steve Buscemi as a drunk wedding guest and Alexis Arquette as a Boy George look a like singer in Robbie's band, both of which put in highly enjoyable and memorable performances.

But the real key to why I and many others enjoy "The Wedding Singer" has to be the retro 80s thing, most notably the soundtrack which is absolutely stuffed to the brim with 80s bands including Culture Club, The Police, Elvis Costello, Billy Idol, Thompson Twins and even Musical Youth to name just a few. Add to this some brilliant retro moments like Robbie's best mate dressing up in a Michael Jackson red leather jacket and white glove, or Julia's boyfriend imitating Don Johnson out of Miami Vice to the extent he has the theme tune blasting in his car and the 80s feel to the movie is spot on.

What this all boils down to is that I really enjoy "The Wedding Singer", not because it is a brilliant comedy or an amazing romantic movie, it's purely because it gives a brilliant pastiche of the 80s and allows me to reminisce about an era which I still love. It also helps that it has a very memorable soundtrack and whilst Sandler doesn't do anything really special, his comedy does feel a bit more refined than some of his later attempts at making us laugh.


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