The Wedding Singer (1998)

The Wedding Singer (1998)

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It was the 80s. Fashion was non-existent.
It was the 80s. Fashion was non-existent.

Twitter Plot Summary: Wedding Singer + Waitress + 1985 setting = inevitable rom-com.

Genre: Comedy/Romance

Director: Frank Coraci

Key Cast: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Steve Buscemi, Christine Taylor, Allen Covert, Matthew Glave, Angela Featherstone, Christina Pickles, Alexis Arquette, Jon Lovitz, Billy Idol

Five Point Summary:

1. Steve Buscemi is always a winner, even when uncredited.
2. I’ve just realised how bad Drew Barrymore is at acting. Oh my.
3. Nice Michael Jackson costume, guy.
4. Slime-ball. That is all.
5. Billy Idol. Awesomeness.

The year is 1985, an era of big hair, cheesy pop tunes and more big hair. Robbie is a wedding singer who’s due to marry the love of his life next week. But that doesn’t work out for reasons that will become apparent. Meanwhile waitress Julia is also due to marry her beau, Glenn. He’s a bit of a lad, so you know precisely where that is leading. Despite the fact Drew Barrymore is mostly irritating as Julia, Robbie seems to have some chemistry with her, ultimately leading to an entirely expected rom-com plot where in essence a relationship forms by proxy. This apparent chemistry between Sandler and Barrymore has led to them appearing in several more similarly themed movies over the years, but The Wedding Singer is the best of that particular bunch.

The Wedding Singer marks a period in Adam Sandler’s career where his movies were frequent and mostly decent. As far as his more recent material goes I don’t think he’s the problem, I think it’s more to do with the material and perhaps a change in how an audience appreciates its comedy. Here the right balance is found between laughs and the emotional core, the joining together of two people who are meant for each other. Some of the best jokes are actually in the cutaways or happening off camera. Steve Buscemi has some excellent asides in the opening wedding scene, Robbie’s brother-in-law watering the front lawn has a couple of crackers, and even Jon Lovitz lurking behind the curtain – all laugh out loud moments. The plotting is perhaps a little too convenient, in particular the final flight that conveniently places the necessary characters on the same flight with Billy Idol, but in the grand scheme of things it’s a minor issue. Within the realms of rom-com tropes, it’s already established so to complain about convenient plotting would be churlish.

Jon Lovitz. Creepy yet amusing.
Jon Lovitz. Creepy yet amusing.

You know exactly where the story is going from page 1, but it’s that old adage of enjoying the ride rather than worrying about the plot. The entertainment comes from the various roadblocks put in place that prevents the couple from getting together until the final act. The supporting characters include Robbie’s womanising best friend Sammy who provides a counterpoint to Robbie’s world view; there’s Julia’s sister Holly who is portrayed in a similar light to Sammy; then there’s the respective other halves of Julia and Robbie, Glenn and Linda. Both are nasty and selfish, just in case we had any doubts as to whether or not Robbie and Julia should hook up.

The soundtrack is an 80s cheese-fest, perfect for those who are nostalgic at heart or who are particularly fond of 80s pop. Hearing a string version of Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey would make it worthwhile either way, but the rest of the soundtrack is worthy of your time. There are the obvious tracks in the foreground, but there’s great pleasure to be found in the songs used in the background of scenes too. It’s wall to wall 80s goodness. Well, except for the fashion of course, but then 30 years of hindsight will have that effect.

Favourite scene: Meeting Billy Idol on the plane.

Quote: “All right, remember – alcohol equals puke equals smelly mess equals nobody likes you!”

Silly Moment: Jon Lovitz singing.

Score: 3.5/5

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