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The Wedding Singer (1998)

He’s gonna party like it’s 1985

Directed by:

Frank Coraci

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 95 minutes

UK Certificate: 12

On DVD

Country: United States

Take a nostalgic trip back to the loud baggy clothes, curly hair and bloody brilliant music of the 80s with this chucklesome rom-com featuring Adam Sandler at his least irritating.

Sandler sports a marvellous mullet as Robbie Hart, the humble small-town nice guy who makes an honest buck working as a crooner at wedding receptions. Sounds like enjoyable enough work, but not if, like Robbie, you’ve just been jilted on your own big day and now HATE weddings. Note the capital letters used on the word ‘hate’, there.

Solace for the Robster arrives in the shape of sugar-sweet waitress Julia (Drew Barrymore, also surprisingly likable). As you’d expect given this is a romantic comedy, the pair soon fall in lurrrve. Awwwww, isn’t that nice? The only trouble is, she’s already engaged to Glenn (Matthew Glave), a super-sleazy DeLorean-driving Don Johnson wannabe. What’s more, his surname’s ‘Gulia’ – so unless Julia can see the light and get out of this wedding fast, she’s going to end up having to live her life under the ridiculous name of ‘Julia Gulia’. It’s a scary prospect.

The movie does unavoidably come off as a somewhat self-conscious attempt to alter the public’s perception of Sandler’s persona. Aside from one hilarious on-stage wobbler, Robbie’s a mild-mannered guy who’s a million miles away from his tantrum-fuelled parts in ‘Happy Gilmore’ or ‘The Waterboy’. Here, Sandler attempts to walk a tightrope between holding onto his established fanbase and trying to make himself more popular with those previously sworn to destroy him. Somewhat impressively, he more or less manages to pull it off.

This is a fun flick, and very, very watchable with it. There are some nice in-jokes aimed at those of us with a fondness for 80s pop-culture (‘get out of my Van Halen t-shirt before you jinx the band and they break up’), and Steve Buscemi, Jon Lovitz and Billy Idol all squeeze laughs out of their brief cameo appearances. Sandler’s singing is unexpectedly passable (particularly on the opening Dead Or Alive classic ‘You Spin Me Round’), and even the cheese-o-rific climax just about works within its tongue-in-cheek context.

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It's Got: An 80s-tastic soundtrack including The Thompson Twins, The Smiths, New Order, Elvis Costello, The Cure, The Police, Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie. In fact, it’s just a Deacon Blue away from perfection.

It Needs: Not to be watched by anyone who’s after some zany madcap comedy – most of this is pretty mild stuff.

DVD Extras Biographies and a trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 2/10

Alternatives:

Anger Management, Big Daddy, Punch-Drunk Love

Summary

Some good, funny, light entertainment that’s not just for Sandler fans.

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