Classic Movie Review: The Wedding Singer (1998)

Posted: September 28, 2013 in Comedy, Romance
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It’s 1985, Robbie Hart (Adam Sandler) is a wedding singer from New Jersey who dreams of being a songwriter.  His job doesn’t pay well, but he’s happy because he’s good at what he does, because he truly believes in love.  Robbie’s getting married to his high school sweetheart, Linda (Angela Featherstone) ,  who he’s convinced he’s in love with . While singing at the reception hall, Robbie meets a new waitress named Julia, (Drew Barrymore) she’s a sweet girl who’s engaged to a self-absorbed junk bond trader named Glenn Guglia  (Matthew Glave) Glen drives a DeLorean and thinks he looks like Don Johnson.  Just as Robbie is about to get married, Linda stands him up at the altar and breaks his heart.  Brokenhearted, he stays in his sister’s basement listening to depressing music and not shaving.

When he goes back to work as a wedding singer, he’s as sullen and depressed as ever.  He sings “Love Stinks” at his first wedding after breaking up with Linda, and promptly gets punched by the groom’s father.  Just as things are going badly for Robbie, things start to go well for Julia, Glenn agrees to marry Julia, but wants nothing to do with planning the details of the wedding, so Julia asks Robbie to help him plan the wedding, and along the way, Robbie falls in love with her, but keeps those feelings to himself.  Later, Robbie goes on a double-date with Julia’s cousin, Holly (Christine Taylor) Julia and Glenn.  When they’re alone Glenn admits to Robbie that he’s already cheated on Julia and plans to continue.  Does Robbie tell Julia about Glenn’s womanizing?  Does he admit his own feelings about Julia to Julia? Does Julia marry Glenn, despite having feelings for Robbie?

An Adam Sandler movie that’s a classic?  Believe it, I love this movie, because no movie encapsulates the mood of 1980’s America like the Wedding Singer, the music, the clothes, the big hair, even the tv shows.  It really is a sweet love story about a nice guy who believes in love, and gets his heart broken, trying to find love again.  Is it predictable?  Sure it is, but every romantic comedy is predictable.  Half the fun of a good romantic comedy is the journey, and this is one funny ride.

Adam Sandler’s never made a movie before or since, that’s made use of both his musical and comedic talents the way this one did.  He sings some songs that he wrote, one funny, one sweet, and it really makes the part of a struggling singer more believable when the audience hears Sandler sing.  Drew Barrymore’s never been more appealing, sweet,  vulnerable, her face filled with joy and angst at the same time.  She was undeniably cute in this film, and her chemistry with Sandler was undeniable too, they tried to re-kindle that chemistry in the awful “50 First Dates” but it didn’t work, proving that chemistry is a tricky thing and not just in science class.  This is a movie with some standout cameos as well.  Steve Buscemi is very funny as the bitter brother of one of the grooms.  Jon Lovitz is hilarious as Jimmie Moore, a smarmy wedding singer who flirts with Barrymore as he sings “Ladies Night.”  80’s punk rocker Billy Idol has a cameo for authenticity.

The writing is excellent, Tim Herlihy wrote this movie, and he wrote three of Sandler’s funnier movies, this one, Happy Gilmore, and Big Daddy.  The Wedding Singer was the best of the three.  The length of the film is perfect, a little over 90 minutes, any longer for a comedy, and it starts to drag. Finally, if you want to know what the music was like in 1980’s America watch this movie, it has a slice of everything, from Boy George, to the Smiths, to Huey Lewis.  The songs definitely set the mood for the movie, a fun love letter to the 1980’s.

The Wedding Singer:  Sing Its Praises.

  1. Megan says:

    I love that Robbie and Julia get maried

  2. It’s a sweet film, Megan, not in a cloying way, but in a satisfying way. Enjoy my blog!

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