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(1998) (Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore) (PG-13)

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Bad Attitude
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Romantic Comedy: A popular wedding singer must deal with his fiancÚ standing him up on their wedding day, as well as his budding romantic feelings for his waitress friend who may be marrying the wrong man.
It's 1985 and Robbie Hart (ADAM SANDLER) is a struggling songwriter who earns a living as a popular wedding singer. Engaged to marry his girlfriend Linda (ANGELA FEATHERSTONE), things seem to be going okay for him, and he even makes a new friend, Julia (DREW BARRYMORE), who's just completed her first day as a wedding waitress. It turns out she's getting married as well, and they're both happy for each other.

When Linda dumps Robbie on their wedding day, however, everything quickly falls apart for him. Retreating to his bedroom where he sulks, he's eventually talked into performing at another wedding by his concerned best friend, Sammy (ALLEN COVERT), a wedding limo driver. Overtaken by grief and anger, Robbie's performance is horrendous and he decides from then on only to perform at non-marital events such as a local bar mitzvah.

Meanwhile, Julia can't get her uncaring fiancÚ, Glenn (MATTHEW GLAVE), to help in any of their wedding plans, so she turns to Robbie and her other friend, Holly (CHRISTINE TAYLOR). As Robbie helps with Julia's preparations, their friendship begins to turn into something more. Not only does that make Robbie confused, but he also later learns that Glenn is an uncaring, philandering scumbag. From that moment on, Robbie and Julia try to sort out their feelings for each other.

If they're fans of Sandler (of TV's "Saturday Night Live" and the films "Happy Gilmore" and "Billy Madison"), Drew Barrymore ("Scream," "Mad Love"), or romantic comedies in general, they just might.
For sex-related material and language.
  • ADAM SANDLER plays an aspiring songwriter who makes money by belting out songs for other people's weddings. After being stood up at his own wedding, he goes through a state of depression, drinks (from which he passes out once), and curses some.
  • DREW BARRYMORE plays a sweet young lady who works as a waitress at weddings. She apparently sleeps with her fiancÚ, but we don't see any of that.
  • ALLEN COVERT plays Robbie's best friend whose womanizing ways are a shallow cover for his needs for a true romantic love.
  • MATTHEW GLAVE plays Julia's philandering and uncaring fiancÚ.
  • CHRISTINE TAYLOR plays Julia's friend who has something of a reputation for sleeping around.
  • ANGELA FEATHERSTONE plays Robbie's fiancÚ who dumps him on their wedding day because she doesn't like his temporarily chosen profession.


    OUR TAKE: 7 out of 10
    Adam Sandler, the performer, is something of an acquired taste. The former star of "Saturday Night Live" and the movies "Happy Gilmore" and "Billy Madison" has long been a favorite with older male teens and college students who love his sly, often boisterously adolescent-like humor. This gifted comedic actor, writer, standup comedian and songwriter/performer, however, has had little appeal outside those limited demographics and none of his films have grossed more than $40 million domestically. With his latest film, "The Wedding Singer," putting him into the new category of romantic leading man, Sandler hopes to boost those figures by drawing in a bigger, more diversified audience.

    Whether that happens still remains to be seen, but one thing is certain. This is easily Sandler's most likeable and accessible character and the film is certainly the best he's appeared in so far. Now don't get me wrong, for much like the nonstop music that permeates the soundtrack, this is lightweight, all-fluff material. Like that "Big 80's" music, however, this film is a guilty pleasure that you'll know that you shouldn't enjoy so much, but will find that you can't help yourself.

    Anything but unpredictable, the movie will almost certainly draw the ire of some critics and moviegoers who just won't get what this film's supposed to be about. Like many romantic comedies before it -- and the many that will inevitably follow in its footsteps -- this film isn't supposed to be high art. This is pure saccharin, but it sure tastes good and will probably leave a smile on your face.

    What really makes the story work (beyond its predictable romantic commodities -- which is the exact reason people love these films -- you know how they'll end but you enjoy watching the journey) are the performances from Sandler and Barrymore. Playing down his normal shtick that often prevents even him from keeping a straight face, Sandler is very enjoyable in his role. While it probably won't win over people who find his "act" irritating, it should endear him to a bigger audience.

    Barrymore, who's still "cute as a button" -- as she's been since frolicking with one certain alien a "few" years back -- also creates a likeable, compassionate character. Although both roles are completely forgettable and won't earn either performer any acting accolades, they're sweet, they go down easy, and they leave a pleasant sugary aftertaste.

    The rest of the performances are okay, with Christine Taylor trading in her dead-on portrayal of Marcia Brady (from the two "Brady Bunch" movies) for an 80's Madonna look, while Angela Featherstone and Matthew Glave provide the somewhat stereotypical, but obligatory cruel love interests. The most fun, however, comes from the many cameos that pop up throughout the production. Former sneering rock star Billy Idol shows up as himself, Jon Lovitz briefly plays a cocky wedding singer competitor, and Steve Buscemi does a brief, but hilarious take as a disgruntled brother and best man.

    The real stars of the film, however, are the many songs from the 1980's that play nearly nonstop during the movie. Whether belted out by Sandler (who yes, does his own singing) or playing in the background, the songs brought back fond memories for me of my own times during that decade. With a collection of tunes that would make a comparable Time-Life compilation blush by comparison, the music never stops and only adds to the fun, fluffy feel the movie constantly exudes.

    In addition, there's a rather funny cover of "Love Stinks" (originally done by the J. Geils Band) performed by a just dumped Sandler and a handful of other "social misfits," and a cute bit featuring a string quartet playing Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" at the beginning of Robbie's doomed wedding ceremony. Finally, there has to be one of Sandler's patented self-written songs (like the ones he used to perform on "SNL") and this one, with half of it written before he was stood up and the other half written afterwards, is quite funny.

    The movie isn't quite as successful at poking fun at the Reagan dominated, "me" decade, but still offers some funny moments. A clever bit includes one of Robbie's band members (ALEXIS ARQUETTE) doing a devilish take on 80's pop icon, Boy George. Whether playing at a wedding or a bar mitzvah, this androgynous character can't help but belt out "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?" (the breakthrough hit single that propelled George and his band, Culture Club, to fame), and when the appalled audience doesn't applaud after one rendition, the singer just starts it up again. There are also some jabs at Madonna, Michael Jackson, and some funny moments with the real life Billy Idol playing himself. And to top it off, nearly everyone has "big hair" in a decade popularized with people we used to call "hair farmers."

    Some references, however, to other cultural icons such as the TV shows "Dallas" and "Miami Vice" are not that funny, as is also the case with a small bit regarding a Rubik's cube or a newfangled piece of stereo equipment called a CD player. None of them are so bad as to stand out, but you just wish that with a decade's worth of hindsight, the film makers would have come up with some funnier material. Also, as the credits prepared to roll I was expecting the standard "whatever happened to" bylines for the characters, but alas, that never appeared. Although I don't always like those "tack on" endings, it might have been fun for this film.

    Still, the movie survives such small moments of "flat" material and should please fans of the romantic comedy genre. While it's not up to the standards of classics like "When Harry Met Sally" or "The Philadelphia Story," and will most likely be quickly forgotten while you're driving home from the theater, it's still a delightful time at the movies. We only hope that Sandler focuses more of his energy on roles and films like this that show he's more than just a goof ball character as in his previous works. Of course your appreciation of this movie will somewhat hinge on whether you can tolerate Sandler, but he's toned down his normal "adolescent" behavior enough to make this bearable for more than just his normal fans. Light, fluffy, and as sweet as can be, "The Wedding Singer" is the sort of movie that just grows on you the longer you watch it. We were pleasantly surprised and give the film a 7 out of 10.

    Here's a quick summary of the film's content. Language (profanity that includes an "f" word, along with a slew of imitative phrases) and sexually related material (people talking about sex) give the film its PG-13 rating. There is a moderate amount of drinking with several characters (including Sandler's) showing up rather drunk. Some bad attitudes abound from the supporting characters where Julia's husband is a philandering, uncaring creep and Robbie's fiancÚ stands him up at their wedding. Beyond that, many of the other categories are void of major objectionable material. Even so, you should read through the listings should someone in your home wish to see this film.

  • People drink wine and other alcoholic beverages at several weddings, a bar mitzvah, and an engagement party.
  • A man gives a boy some beer to drink at a wedding and the boy later throws up in a trash dumpster.
  • The best man at a wedding is somewhat drunk and we later see him drinking whiskey.
  • Julia, Glenn, Robbie and Holly have drinks in a bar and Julia is somewhat drunk from drinking shots of liquor.
  • Robbie drinks a shot in a bar along with Sammy and other people. Later, he returns to the bar with a full bottle of liquor. We then see him even later as he falls down on his lawn and passes out from being drunk.
  • A flight attendant offers Robbie some champagne and Billy Idol drinks his straight from the bottle.
  • We hear a boy throwing up in a trash dumpster.
  • A tiny stream of blood runs from Robbie's nose after he's been punched.
  • A man gives a boy some beer to drink at a wedding and the boy later throws up in a trash dumpster.
  • A drunken best man at a wedding berates his father, and then lets loose a secret about himself and his brother, the groom, that upsets the bride. He also bets that the couple will be divorced within a year.
  • An older man pinches Julia's butt as she walks by him at a wedding.
  • Sammy talks about how he'll be "giving it to" Julia when he first sees her, and later says that she's a "cool chick" with "a nice ass."
  • Linda stands up Robbie at their wedding. She later explains that she did so because she couldn't stand his occupation.
  • Glenn is marrying Julia only because she wants to, and not only does he not want to participate in the wedding plans, but he also fools around with other women behind her back and tells Robbie he'll continue to do so after they're married.
  • Robbie refers to an overweight man as "fat guy," Sammy calls women "chicks" and two people (one being a boy) call Linda a "bitch."
  • None.
  • None.
  • Phrases: "Screwed up," "Moron," "Idiot," "You suck," "Bitch" (toward a woman, also said by a young boy), "Jack sh*t," "Fat guy" (what Robbie calls an overweight man), "Chick(s)" (about women), "Piss," "Jerk," "Loser," "Laid" (sexual), "Sucks," "Jerk off" (adjective), "Ass wipe," "Sh*thead," "Geez," "Pissed" and "Fruit" (a gay put down said by Glenn toward Robbie).
  • An older man pinches Julia's butt as she walks by him at a wedding.
  • Holly mentions that a chef is friendly to her because "I showed him my boobs."
  • Sammy playfully gives Robbie "the finger."
  • A young teenager who dances with Julia grabs her butt. Robbie then puts a young girl's hands on his butt while dancing with her, and soon everyone has their hands on their dancing partner's butts.
  • None.
  • None.
  • Robbie sings a song he's written that contains the "f" and "s" words as well as "G-damn."
  • At least 1 "f" word, 13 "s" words, 1 slang term each for male genitals ("ding-dong") and breasts ("boobs"), 10 asses (2 using "hole"), 1 crap, 1 damn, 1 hell, and 6 uses of "Oh my God," 2 uses each of "G-damn," "Oh God" and "God," and 1 use each of "For God's sakes" and "My God" as exclamations.
  • We briefly see the bare butt of a young child who's "dancing" during a wedding.
  • A drunken best man briefly mentions himself and the groom visiting "some prostitutes" but that he doesn't remember them paying the women.
  • Upon spotting Julia, Sammy mentions that he'll be "giving it to her" and wonders if she's "half as easy" as Holly.
  • Holly mentions that a chef is friendly to her because "I let him look at my boobs."
  • An older woman asks Robbie about his wedding night, "Will this be your first time with intercourse?" She then adds, "When I got married, I wasn't a virgin. I already had intercourse with eight men. That was a lot back then. That would be like 200 today."
  • Julia's mother tells her that she should consider a "fake pregnancy" to make Glenn marry her.
  • After Robbie comments on Sammy trying to get him to perform at a wedding, Sammy says, "Marry you? I'm just trying to get someone to play with your ding-dong."
  • Robbie's sister's husband mentions that she sometimes does some exotic dancing for him and occasionally "plays" with his nipples.
  • When Robbie asks who would like to dance with Julia, an older man says, "I'd like to do more than dance with her."
  • A young teenager who dances with Julia grabs her butt. Robbie then puts a young girl's hands on his butt while dancing with her, and soon everyone has their hands on their dancing partner's butts.
  • Another wedding singer closes out his audition by saying, "That's no sock in my crotch."
  • Holly mentions that just because she's going to go out with Robby "doesn't mean he's going to get laid." She then mentions that maybe it does.
  • We see just the lower part of a waitress' bare butt as she leans over a table.
  • Holly tells Robbie, "If you come upstairs, you're gonna get laid." They kiss, but nothing else happens.
  • An old man tells Robbie that he (Robbie) "needs a prostitute."
  • Sammy smokes a few times and we see another man smoke as well.
  • There are just a few brief moments where we hear that Robbie's parents died when he was ten years old.
  • Accepting others for who they are, and not how much money they make.
  • We hear Robbie take a large mirror and break it.
  • The father of the bride at a wedding punches Robbie and then briefly tries to strangle him.
  • Glenn punches Robbie and knocks him to the ground.

  • Reviewed February 6, 1998

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