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THE WEDDING SINGER

Directed by Frank Coraci (1998, New Line Cinema)
Starring Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Christine Taylor, Allen Covert, and Matthew Glave

A waitress and a wedding singer both question the romance in their lives after wedding experiences.

View count: Twice

 

 

2 stars

November 24th, 2001 on TV  
    We know what is going to happen the moment the movie starts, and some really stupid things happen throughout, but being a child of the '80s means that I remember in vivid detail so many of the things depicted in this movie, and there are some really standout moments of hilarity that keep this enjoyable.

I don't know if you have to be a child of the 1980s to appreciate this. But I was part of that, with the big hair, the white tuxedo jackets, the fluorescent colors... and seeing it brought to the screen in such a manner brought it all back, the way only hindsight can do -what in the world were we thinking! The music is what I really enjoyed about this film. I still remember the words to a lot of the songs played here.

The story is a romantic comedy between two people who are engaged to other people. Robbie is left standing at the altar by his head-banger fiancée, and Julia is the naive girl who doesn't see what a jerk her fiancé is. Robbie is sent into a mid-life crisis, wondering what life holds for him now, while Julia, new in town, asks his advice on her own wedding preparations.

There are so many really funny bits scattered through the movie, but I think the best come when Robbie is still trying to figure out what went wrong with his love life. Singing at a wedding soon after his breakup, he insults the newly married couple and goes off in a hilarious rendition of "Love Hurts", with the words "love stinks" inserted instead, catching the feelings of a "fat man", a "hairy woman" and the "losers at table 9"! Eventually, of course, he gets punched out, but Julia comes to his rescue, and really wants him to help her plan for her wedding, since he knows the various stores so well. 

As they shop, Robbie and Julia start to like each other, and after a "practice kiss" to prepare for the church wedding, they think things have gone too far. Still, they go on a double date, where Robbie finds out that Glenn regularly cheats on his soon-to-be-wife, and plans to continue cheating after the wedding. 

Another hilarious moment includes Robbie's song about his ex-fiancée, which is so much like The Cure, it's funny, with the slow verses and the hard rock chorus. We were rolling in our seats when Robbie tries to find a job at a bank ("I'm a fan of money; I have a little in a jar over my fridge..."), or every moment with the old lady who he is teaching to sing ("I wasn't a virgin when I got married... I'd had sex with 8 men, which is like 200 today!") and who pays him in meatballs. Some of the things that they thought of for this movie were really, really funny. But I wonder if anything was funnier than Julia's potential last name, Gulia...

Both Robbie and Julia make mistakes, telling one another off, going to extreme lengths to do something that will impress the other, but they end up mad at each other, and Julia agrees to elope to Los Vegas with Glenn. Robbie chases after her, ending up on the same plane, but in first class, so they don't know they are so close. After Glenn makes a pass at one of the stewardesses, Robbie sings a song and reveals himself to Julia. With the help of Billy Idol and many incensed passengers, Robbie and Julia fall in love... 

Adam Sandler cannot sing, but it is funny in a painful kind of way, to watch him try. He was good as a defeated lover, too, though at times his screaming got out of hand. Hilarious was the singer who always took over from him as he took a break. A Boy George wanna-be, he knew only one song, and instead of letting the air go dead, he repeated it over and over again! 

Drew Barrymore as Julia was beautiful as ever. She had just the right amount of naiveté, and was able to put a lot of passion into that practice kiss. The way her eyes lit up after seeing Robbie enter a room, or discussing the wedding plans, made the movie seem better than it actually was, even if she was smacking people in the head with her serving tray! Though her wedding dress was a late eighties style, it still looked great on her. 

I do wonder about the town they live in, though. It is small enough that there is one limo driver, four Jewish families, and probably only one wedding hall, but the store owner thinks Robbie and Julia are getting married, so obviously doesn't know him. So if Julia is fairly new in town, how does she know Holly so well, especially when Glenn notes that Holly thinks the Time to Make the Donuts guy is sexy. And the bar seems to be in a downtown area of a city large enough to have more than one limo driver. But that's besides the point in this movie, because the settings were there simply to locate the story.

This was definitely not a great movie, but it was fun in an absurd kind of way. The movie can probably only be watched and appreciated by those who are very tired, or in a silly mood. We were exhausted, so we had the right mindset. I'm sure under normal circumstances, we would have been sitting watching this with dumb looks on our faces. But for the properly prepared, especially those who grew up in the '80s, it was fun.
 
   

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