Friday Film Review: The Wedding Singer
The Wedding Singer (1998)
Genre: Romantic Comedy
I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t expect I’d like this movie. Drew Barrymore is an actress who works for me about 50:50 while Adam Sandler is someone I’ll dive for the remote to change the channel away from. But the comments about the movie in the “Ever After” thread made me shrug my shoulders and say “why not?”
Robbie Hart (Adam Sandler) has dreams of becoming a songwriter but somewhere along the way, his gigs as a wedding singer to make extra cash turned into what he does for a living. He does it well but it’s not a chick magnet profession. Julia (Drew Barrymore) is a waitress he meets at some of the weddings they both work at and the two exchange small talk and discuss their own upcoming nuptials.
But when Robbie is stood up at the altar, it’s Julia who tries to bring him out of his funk by asking him to help her plan her wedding to a slick Wall Street bond man. As they test cakes, check out dresses and bargain down photographers they begin to have feelings for each other. But will Robbie get the courage to tell Julia how he feels for her – and what a schmuck her fiance is – before it’s too late?
I hadn’t realized that this movie is an homage to the 1980s. Oh, the fashions that I remember: trampy Madonna lace gloves, workout wear, RELAX t-shirts, gelled hair that could withstand a wind tunnel, Miami Vice pastels and Michael Jackson’s red jacket – it’s all there and had me laughing. The music, however, is what takes the cake and makes the film. It not only sets the 80s mood but the lyrics are spot on for the feel and needs of the scene they’re used for. And they even got Billy Idol and a Boy George imitator!
Drew Barrymore is perfect as the perky “girl next door” type. She’s sweet without being saccharine and manages not to come off as too much of a chump for not having seen the truth of her fiance. Matthew Glave as fiance Glenn is a good mix of too suave player whose eyes are still roving but who doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong. After all, he’s doing what he thinks he has to and marrying Julia, right?
There are lots of wonderful secondary characters played by fabulous actors including Steve Buscemi, Allen Covert, Frank Sivero, Ellen Albertini Dow and Christine Taylor. You might not immediately know their names but the faces will be familiar and they do well with their parts.
But the true surprise for me is Adam Sandler’s performance. I like Robbie Hart. I want him to pull himself together, realize what a putz Glenn is and a treasure Julia is and make everything right at the end. And when he does, it’s fabulous. The last scenes on the plane with the first class conspiracy to get these two together is a scream plus the song Robbie sings to Julia makes me smile as well as laugh.
I’m glad I gave this one a shot since up til now, I’d avoided it like the plague. Sure, it’s a bit cheesy and campy and feel good but it doesn’t make fun of anyone unlike so many romantic comedies that must make either the hero or heroine – or both – look like fools. And the way Sandler and Barrymore play their characters, I truly can see them growing old with each other and singing at their 50th Anniversary. B-