Adam Sandler has certainly had a successful career; only a handful of box office failures over almost 20 years is an achievement for any actor. Even when the quality of his films started to drop his loyal fans still turned out to see his movies. However, his current run of work has seen new lows in sheer laziness and it would be a compliment to call them ‘by the numbers’.
The recently released, That’s My Boy, was a commercial and critical disaster, Just Go With It was an embarrassment for all involved (Nicole Kidman what were you thinking!), and Jack and Jill might be the most heinous crime against cinema in recent memory. Grown Ups had a few funny moments, but ultimately it’s a movie about nothing, against all the odds it was a huge hit and the sequel is currently filming.
Sandler’s performance in Punch Drunk love suggested an actor of depth, and capable of great things when given the right script and director. Reign Over Me was a well put together film but Sandler didn’t give himself over to the part. Judd Apatow’s misunderstood Funny People once again was home to a controlled and soulful performance and his character openly mocked movies like Jack and Jill.
Back in the late 90s Sandler was in his man-child glory days, and this movie came along at the right time. Here he plays Robbie Hart, a local wedding singer who gets left at the alter by his long-term girlfriend Linda. Robbie quickly sinks in to pit of depression and gives up on singing.
After meeting Julia (Drew Barrymore) the two strike up a friendship and she thinks if he helps plan her forthcoming wedding it will get him out of his funk. Before you can say it’s a nice day for a white wedding, Robbie is falling for her, and Julia is feeling it too but with her wedding day looming she can’t back out now, can she?
Sandler and Barrymore have an appealing chemistry together, so much so it becomes difficult to watch them do their merry chase without smiling. Barrymore can play the girl next door in her sleep, but she taps into previously never seen levels of adorableness and gives Julia a real believability. They are just so perfect for each other you’re rooting for them, but in typical fashion it’s only with a grand gesture at the end that these to love birds get to fly.
Alexis Arquette nearly steals the show as Robbie’s band-mate George, giving numerous renditions of Culture Clubs “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” to an appalled and frankly confused audiences. 80s pop singer Billy Idol shows up as himself, and Jon Lovitz pops up as a rival wedding singer in a delightful cameo.
Naturally being a rom com, it must conform to certain conventions but this is such a good natured film that you can look past these flaws. Julia’s fiancé Glen is a cheating scumbag so this makes it okay for her to develop feelings for Robbie. There’s the obligatory third act obstacle to overcome and the predictable happy ending, although few rom coms end with Steve Buscemi singing a cover version of Spandau Ballet’s True.
The Wedding Singer is a nostalgic trip to the 80s, and for Adam Sandler’s career as it’s sometimes difficult to remember how funny his movies used to be. In many way his career is mimicking that of Eddie Murphy, stuck making family friendly movies and occasionally branching out but ultimately trapped making toned down versions of what they used to do.Pin It