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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Retro Review: The Wedding Singer (1998)

The Wedding Singer
Cast: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Christine Taylor, Jodi Thelen, Allen Covert 
Genre; Romantic Comedy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $123 million 

Plot: Robbie, a singer and Julia, a waitress, are both engaged - but to the wrong people. Fortune intervenes to help them discover each other 

'Underwhelming Rom-Com That Is Neither Romantic, Or Funny Enough'

Almost typical Adam Sandler comedy vehicle, The Wedding Singer falls short due to the odd casting of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, who both excel individually yet where the chemistry just never hit home for me. In fact, but for a few amusing lines of dialogue and scenes, it is a film that ought to have done more by bringing out more of that '80s wackiness at the forefront, rather instead it just wallows in nostalgia - which is not a bad thing. But The Wedding Singer ought to have gone all out in the comedy stakes, but not make it crude, over-the-top. 

Sandler plays Robbie Hart: a karaoke wedding singer who makes ends meet by performing at wedding functions. Things then take a turn as his girlfriend unceremoniously dumps him out of the blue, and the new girl he has fallen in love with, a waitress named Julia is getting married to a guy who looks like Don Johnson of Miami Vice

The grandma is one of the best characters who has two scenes, where she tells Robbie that she had intercourse with 8 men, as is the Boy George impersonator and the scene where the little boy goes to Elena and says to her 'you're a b***'. I also liked the scenes with singer, Billy Idol. But other than that, this screwball comedy flatters to deceive.

The Wedding Singer is part screwball farce and is a look at the 1980s through the soundtrack of pop songs and the fashion and horrible haircuts. The film makes a mistake by having the plot set in 1985, yet it becomes peppered with musical references/songs from the 1980s decade. Coupled with the pacing of the film, which drags, despite the '80s references, music and clothes, the romantic aspect of this so-called rom-com never really materialised. 

Adam Sandler is yet another of those stand-up comedians turned actors, who has had a early promising movie career - only to go downhill with more puerile movies. His performance as Robbie is most restrained well, less of the vulgarity and shouty Adam Sandler until, the 2002 drama Punch, Drunk, Love. Whether he was the ideal choice to play Robbie, I'm not entirely sure, but it was nice to see him restrained, but when he resorts to crude humour and cursing whilst singing his song to Julia, I was cringing during that scene. I liked Drew Barrymore in her role, I felt that cutesy, down-to-earth girl character she played was perfect and I didn't have an issue with it. She was charming and given the at times, boorish, shouty and at times, crass Adam Sandler, it was good to have that foil who was the opposite of Robbie. Barrymore provides that balance and some consistency to this film. 

Unfortunately, in doing so, the fun, wacky, colourful nature of the 1980s period was never fully taken advantage of; and with that, in The Wedding Singer, a film that I liked during the late 1990s and early 2000s, these days, has become a film that is forgettable. And a bit limp as well. 

Final Verdict:

The Wedding Singer is mildly charming and profoundly amusing in places, but it just didn't withhold my attention and as a screwball comedy of rom-com proportions, it fell way short of my expectations and the story and its characters never grabbed me as those of say, 2001's America's Sweethearts

At most, it's competent and decent for me and for some occasionally amusing scenes, but I didn't love it as much as I wanted to. Most of the time as I was sitting through this film, I had a straight face, rather than laugh and smile - and for a rom-com type film, that is not good enough. The screenplay needed more work. 

It deserves points for being a less-than-usual Adam Sandler comedy vehicle; however, this film should have functioned as a humourous parody of the 1980s retro movement and rom-coms, and the screwball comedy elements were few and far between and the comedy itself, wasn't as entirely funny. 

I expected more out of The Wedding Singer and as the previews looked as though the film offered more than being your conventional, typical rom-com. In the end, I didn't find this offering as enjoyable and entertaining as many people did when it came out in the late 1990s. 


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