NEW LINE CINEMA (1998)
Directors: Frank Coraci
Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Christine Taylor, Allen Covert, Angela Featherstone, Matthew Glave, Alexis Arquette
It's 1985 everybody!
Off the bat, is The Wedding Singer funny? Yes, yes it is. A range of gags are applied throughout, though some do firmly sit on the nose, and only succeed due to the actors delivering them.
Adam Sandler portrays the good guy Robbie, a guy who provides happiness for others, but can’t for himself it would seem. The arc he takes is nothing new, but it is entertaining to watch someone torn in emotions, deciding what to do for the best in different situations, all whilst sporting an impressive 80s collar curtain.
It’s Sandler-by-numbers really, without the child in a man’s body shlock, and The Wedding Singer probably remains his best film. He seems to be enjoying himself in the film, especially being able to flow as the flamboyant singer.
Drew Barrymore is fun to watch as the seemingly hapless waitress who can’t see the wood for the trees. Following drug issues and a career slump, it’s fair to say she got back on track here. The performance itself isn’t spectacular by any means, but she’s solid and likeable, providing a good foil for Sandler. The supporting cast all lend enjoyable performances, Allan Covert as Sammy provides a near constant gag machine and Christine Taylor fills the shameless-airhead-who-means-well task fittingly. Alexis Arquette is wonderfully cast as George, and will leave you beaming with his contributions. You will find yourselves rooting for these guys, I guarantee it. On the flip side, Matthew Glave/Glenn is a bastard. You will not root for him at all.
Watch out for a fantastic cameo from Steve Buscemi...
You really believe you are set in the mid-80s throughout the movie, with the costumes and the hair obviously, but also the locations and props. The ambience of the seedy bar, to the glitziness of the wedding ceremonies, to the cars born of the era lend to the belief that you are watching a film produced in the 80s, not set in the 80s. The costume designs are great - Van Halen t-shirts, Thriller jackets, pastel wedding outfits, the denim, the jewellery; nothing is left forgotten on this portal back in time. Even the intro titles are of another decade.
It’s only right that the film also boasts a killer soundtrack, featuring The Smiths, Culture Club, David Bowie, New Order and Elvis Costello – to name a few. Very much of the time, though the New Wave movement had finished by 1983, the songs fit perfectly whether performed by Sandler or the original cuts.
The same year, Sandler returned with The Waterboy and continued with a succession of comedies, yet none provide the satisfaction of The Wedding Singer. It’s by numbers, it’s entertaining, it takes you back and, more importantly, it’s fun. It retains a rewatchable quality and does what it sets out to do – make you laugh.
August 14th 2016