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The Wedding Singer

movie review by Christopher Null

4 stars


Nine years out of the 80's and we already have our first nostalgic look back in Adam Sandler's The Wedding Singer, an entertaining romantic comedy which recalls the days of big hair, Thriller, and Miami Vice with a sense of fondness.

Essentially, The Wedding Singer follows Adam Sandler as Robbie Hart, the titular character, who is fixated upon the idea of participating in his own wedding. Devastatingly, though, when the big day comes, his bride to be is a no-show. She has realized that she could not spend the rest of her life with a lowly wedding singer. Consequently, the break-up has traumatized Robbie so much that he must avoid the painful experience of weddings altogether. Thus, his new line as a Bar mitzvah singer. Shortly thereafter, Drew Barrymore as Julia begins to open his eyes to love again, at which point Robbie must contend with her creep fiancee Glen for her affections.

From that point, the story develops into something oddly familiar, and we become aware that The Wedding Singer hearkens back to not only the fads and fashions of the 1980's, but also to the romantic comedies from that era such as Can't Buy Me Love and the John Hughes / Molly Ringwald movies. Those movies concerned the lovable loser that had to compete with the bigshot jock or cheerleader for the affections of their true love. In this remake, the high school protagonists of those films have aged into Sandler's Robbie, ten years out of high school but not far removed. But the sentiment of those films remains. Instead of being a high school stud, Glen is a corporate stud, and there is no doubt in our minds that he is the enemy.

With the modern trend in romance films like My Best Friend's Wedding and As Good As It Gets being to present some sort of true internal conflict to the relationship (such as a likable significant other or a psychological illness), The Wedding Singer gleefully bucks this trend for the black and white, good vs. evil approach of the romantic comedy of the 80's. The Wedding Singer is a witty comedy that dwells on every aspect of pop culture from the decade past (from Boy George to breakdance), and no laughable reference is left untouched. In the end though, it is a simple love story from a simpler time crafted as skillfully as ever.

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