The Wedding Singer
Screenplay : Tim Herlihy
MPAA Rating : PG-13
Year of Release : 1998
Stars : Adam Sandler (Robby Hart), Drew Barrymore (Julia Sullivan), Allen Covert (Sammy), Angela Featherstone (Linda), Matthew Glave (Glenn), Billy Idol (Himself) Christine Taylor (Holly)
In "The Wedding Singer," Adam Sandler makes another bid for stardom in his post-"Saturday Night Live" years, playing the sweet-natured role of Robby Hart, the wedding singer of the movie's title. After only moderate success being an idiot in "Billy Madison" and a hockey player-turned-golfer in "Happy Gilmore," he makes a slight career shift by playing a romantic hero with a really bad haircut circa 1985.
The object of Robby's affection is Julia Sullivan (Drew Barrymore), an equally sweet waitress engaged to a womanizing lunk named Glenn Gulia (Matthew Glave). Robby, who knows more about weddings than just about anyone, was recently stood up at his own wedding by his girlfriend of six years, Linda (Angela Featherstone). "I woke up this morning, and realized I was going to marry a wedding singer," she tells him. Apparently, she was more enthralled with him six years ago when he was a struggling rock star in spandex pants who could "lick the microphone like David Lee Roth."
Robby and Julia start off as friends, when he agrees to help her plan her wedding because Glenn is too busy watching "Miami Vice" and trading bonds on Wall Street. But, according to the strictly formula script by Tim Herlihy (who also wrote "Billy Madison" and "Happy Gilmore"), Robby and Julia are destined to fall in love because they're obviously perfect for each other. All the signs are there, but neither one of them can see it until the end is at hand.
"The Wedding Singer" is a lightweight romantic comedy, with just enough funny moments to keep it adrift, but not so many that it's truly memorable. It has a kind of basic sweetness to it that many romantic movies don't have; you can feel a genuine affection for the main characters even while you listen to the gears of the plot machine grinding along toward the inevitable and obvious conclusion.
The only thing that really sets "The Wedding Singer" apart from other romantic comedies is its sense of time and place. The movie is set in 1985, and it constantly drops cultural icons of that period in our lap to make sure we never forget it -- a Rubick's Cube, a Freddy Krueger mask, Michael Jackson-style red leather jackets, a Boy George lookalike, not to mention the thoroughly eighties soundtrack ranging from The Thompson Twins to The Cure.
In fact, the movie tries so hard that it actually pushes the envelop too far. Unlike last year's "The Ice Storm" that evoked with sheer perfection the era of the early seventies for dramatic purposes, "The Wedding Singer" gets laughs by becoming a conscious parody of the era of yuppies, loud eye make-up, and Reaganism. It's not an actual recreation of 1985, but a collection of all our worst memories of that time period.
In the lead roles, Sandler and Barrymore are both up to par. Sandler gives us a display of his romantic side without completely sacrificing his more caustic brand of comedy; his acting, however, becomes more and more strained with each additional emotion he's required to display. Barrymore, on the other hand, shows that she is developing into a extremely talented actress. Whatever problems she had growing up have been put behind her, and she may well join the ranks of Jodie Foster as one of the few talented child stars who turns into a respected adult actress.
©1998 James Kendrick