In 1985, Robbie Hart (Adam Sandler) has given up his dream of becoming a rock and roll star and is now a popular wedding singer. He’s also a romantic and is thrilled to be marrying Linda (Angela Featherstone), his girlfriend of six years. Shortly before the wedding, he meets Julia (Drew Barrymore) a bubbly new events waitress who is also engaged to be married. The two strike up a quick and easy friendship and Julia is excited to be scheduled to work at Robbie and Linda’s reception.
Unfortunately, an unfulfilled Linda stands Robbie up on their wedding day, and Robbie quickly becomes cynical towards love. Julia, on the other hand, is having a difficult time getting her indifferent fiancé Glen (Matthew Glave) to help her with their wedding plans. After realizing that Robbie has quite a few connections in town due to his job, Julia manages to convince him to help her out with her wedding. Their connection only deepens, causing both of them to question their feelings for one another, as well as their feelings for Linda and Glen.
The Wedding Singer was the first of three movies Sandler and Barrymore starred in together – the other two being 50 First Dates (2004) and Blended (2014) – and in my opinion, it remains their best. This film is where we were first introduced to their sparkling, romantic chemistry and their chemistry is really the only thing that has remained consistent throughout the other two films. Sandler is known for his sophomoric, gross-out humor, and yes he’s comedically gifted, but there are moments in The Wedding Singer where he’s able to shine as an actor as well. He’s not playing an immature man-child or a selfish jerk, but a real man who is dealing with heartbreak the only way he knows how through dry humor.
Barrymore is as sweet and adorable as ever, and the two play off of one another with natural, attraction-tinged banter. The supporting characters are just as fun and thankfully not as obnoxious as some of Sandler’s later films. Alexis Arquette has some of the movie’s funniest scenes as George, Robbie’s Boy George obsessed keyboardist and Steve Buscemi is hilarious in a cameo as a drunken best man whose resentment-filled speech gets him kicked out of the wedding reception. Even Glave entertains as the sleazy, unfaithful fiancé of Julia.
The entire movie is an aggressive but charming homage to the ’80s and everything from Miami Vice and Billy Idol to CD players are represented. I still firmly believe that The Wedding Singer is Happy Madison’s best production and Sandler’s best romantic film to date (with Punch Drunk Love a very close second). If I see it on television, I tend to watch no matter where it might be in the movie. It’s sweet and funny without needing the juvenile humor that so many of Sandler’s films are known for. The characters are well written and even though it has a simple, predictable premise, the 80’s nostalgia and the chemistry between Robbie and Julia make it worthwhile.