"The Wedding Singer" Review
© 1998 Fontaine L.
- spoilers -

Watching "The Wedding Singer" is like watching a student project. It follows the formula of most romantic comedies out there - just the right amount of cuteness, a little bizarre situation here for the boy to "get to know" the girl, the falling-in-love moment, and of course, the inevitable "complications" here and there; finally, the big finale and they live happily ever after. Put Adam Sandler and meatballs into this equation and you get something potentially disastrous. Fortunately, "The Wedding Singer," although in many aspects quite similar to Sandler's previous films like "Billy Madison" and "Happy Gilmore" (the trademark SNL-esque silliness, the good guy-wins-all formula), is surprisingly likable. At least more so than Sandler's previous films. Perhaps it is because Sandler at least seems more like a human being in this movie - and he did away with a lot of grossness too.

What saves this film is its earnest and lovable characters. Otherwise, it relies on too many cliches and too many 80's songs in the intervals. It feels like an MTV movie sometimes, where the tunes carry the movie rather than underscore it. I would have loved to see more of Sandler's singing - he's real good at making singing seem fun. The two characters I really had problems with were--surprise!--Glenn and Linda. They really irritated the hell outta me (great acting, BTW), but that's just the problem. They're stereotypical baddies - the ex-girlfriend from hell and the jerk-off boyfriend. You need baddies like these to get the people you want together. I had less qualms with the "good guys" - a really likable bunch. Hey, they don't have much development of character here, but at least they did well in casting. Drew Barrymore is absolutely charming as the ingenue gal Julia, and we get hilarious minor roles like the Boy George wannabe and the cute old lady who raps. It is the minor characters that truly make this film come alive - Billy Idol's cameo, Steve Buscemi's drunkard, "sideburn lady" and "Mutants From Table #9."

"The Wedding Singer" has a mediocre plot and an okay cast - but it is precisely its simplicity that gives it a license to charm. Call it a "Romantic Comedy For Dummies" perhaps. You can't make anything great if you go by the book, but you can't go wrong either. What we have here is a competent comedy and an easy romance story. Great date movie, good laughs, evening well spent.

Rating: B (First viewing - 3/6/98)