The Wedding Singer (1998) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sexual humor and language
Running Time: 95 min.
Cast: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Christine Taylor, Allen Covert, Matthew Glave, Alexis Arquette, Christina Pickles
Director: Frank Coraci
Screenplay: Tim Herlihy
Review published June 15, 1999
It's 1985, and a wedding singer (Sandler, Big Daddy) gets stood up at his own wedding and practically sinks into depression feeling he will never find anyone to love him. He helps a young waitress (Barrymore, Ever After) to plan her own wedding, they develop feelings for each other, her fiancé is a jerk, and gee, I wonder what will happen at the end of the film...
The Wedding Singer is not a movie I particularly disliked, necessarily. It is just a bad film despite everyone's best intentions, even if many audiences found it to be charming. Sandler tries valiantly to deliver a reserved, low-key performance, but after the bombastic tone he's known for, he doesn't seem quite comfortable in the role.
The downside of The Wedding Singer comes from the predictable and utterly preposterous plot, which is a mish-mash of a dozen other films thrown in a blender. Too bad they blended together all of the most predictable parts. The comedy stems mostly from kids acting older by using profanity, and conversely, old people acting younger by breakdancing and rapping -- complete formula antics through and through. Strangely, there doesn't appear to be any reason this movie needed to be set in the 80s. Perhaps the director must have thought he could have some fun with it and generate easy laughs, and in turn it is more of a gimmick than anything else.
Sandler fans herald this as his best film, and it did open him up to a much wider female audience. Some may also like this film if they are nostalgic for the fads and music of the 80s, but even the handling of the 80s stuff was a bit ham-handed. Just like the decade it takes place in, The Wedding Singer is a style-over-substance endeavor for audiences with a fairly low threshold for entertainment, which might also be said about most Sandler vehicles.
©1999 Vince Leo