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Movie Review

The Wedding Singer

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sex-related material and language

Reviewed by: Brian Nigro
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens to Young Adults
Genre:
Romance Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 35 min.
Year of Release:
1998
USA Release:
February 13, 1998 (wide)
Copyright, New Line Cinema click photos to ENLARGE

Starring: Drew Barrymore, Steve Buscemi, Allen Covert, Ellen Albertini Dow, Angela Featherstone, Matthew Glave, Billy Idol, Adam Sandler, Christine Taylor / Director: Frank Coraci / Released by: New Line Cinema

“The Wedding Singer” is yet another movie that gives away the entire plot—hook, line, and sinker—in its previews. Anyone curious what happens after Drew Barrymore bumps a dinner plate into a wedding guest’s head, after Adam Sandler barks at the father of the bride’s criticisms of his singing, and the two fall head over heels over each other? Not much. There’s nothing in the two-hour “Wedding Singer” that’s not in its thirty-second capsule summary—except for sufficient vulgarity and innuendo.

For what it’s worth, this is a much better treatment of the 1980’s than the two high school reunion movies last year. There is a great soundtrack here, featuring mounds and mounds of retro. One of the better movie soundtracks in quite a long time, in this reviewer’s estimation—and yet, does the soundtrack enhance the movie, or vice versa? (There’s a great version of “Video Killed The Radio Star” that plays over the end credits, so most people will miss that.)

Christian audiences should be aware that one of wedding singer Robbie’s band members is an androgynous spectacle named George—as in Boy George and Culture Club. Whenever Robbie takes a break, George (played by Alexis Arquette) grabs the mike and sings “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me.” At every wedding, at every bar mitzvah, that’s his signature song—and the joke wears real thin.

The romantic triangle of “The Wedding Singer” isn’t much different than that of “Titanic”. Julia (Drew Barrymore) is engaged to a chauvanistic pig Glenn (Matthew Clave), but she really likes Robbie (Adam Sandler). The only difference is, the movie is Robbie’s point of view. (And, how chauvanistic is Glenn? He openly brags to Robbie that he’ll cheat on Julia. Nice guy, huh?)

A trend I see in Adam Sandler’s movies is genuine respect for the elderly. In “Happy Gilmore”, he won a golf tournament for his grandmother. In “The Wedding Singer”, he helps a senior with her singing lessons—it’s too bad this senior has some sleazy one-liners, but she’s still a likable character. Probably the most likable character in the whole movie.

“The Wedding Singer” is rated PG-13 for a few instances of profanity, all too frequent vulgarity and much innuendo. This easily could have been rated R. Generally not recommended, with the possible exception of anyone getting married (or related to someone who is.)

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Although there was quite a bit of vulgarity and crudeness in this film, I was able to enjoy it, partly because its TV showing bleeped out most of the swear words, lol. The music is quite enjoyable and well done. Also, it has good messages, which include putting the needs of your loved one above your own as the measure of true love, and finding someone that you can grow old with. The romantic chemistry between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore is excellent, and the love story between them is clean and sweet.
It also shows that the lifestyle of sleeping around does not make one happy. It centers on the idea of true life long commitment in a relationship. There is one mention of having good behaviour in the presence of God at a wedding. However, it is quite vulgar, including children engaging in inappropriate behaviour, and so I don’t recommend it for younger viewers. It’s wordly, but enjoyable. Certainly Billy Idol’s appearance is quite entertaining.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Kathy, age 52 (Canada)
Positive—I guess I must be a closet romantic, because even though the plot is predictable throughout, and the conventions similar to most titles of this genre, I really liked this movie. Sure I will agree that it is very formulaic, but who cares? Who wants to see the majority of romantic movies nowadays with someone playing an alcoholic, or where they are pushing a political agenda, or some other depressing additive that is used just to make the movie unique so the big-wigs of reviews will drool over it.

This movie plays it safe, stays out of immorality for the most part and uses characters that actually convey a sense of innocence. Adam Sandler, in his least crude performance of all displays a sensitive, innocent side that we don’t see too often and it comes across very well. And Drew Barrymore is also quite winning and loveable as the love interest of Sandler. And with the exception of a few parts, it is morally very strong. A few instances of profanity could have been avoided (Hollywood doesn’t know any better so I usually can’t expect the exclusion of it), but other than that I see good values being supported.

There is no sex before marriage, and in fact it is portrayed as it really is, empty and unfulfilling (The little speech by the limo driver in the bar illustrates this the best.), and true life-long commitment is championed throughout. I recommend this movie for those who want to see a light-hearted, by the numbers love story chock full of warm fuzzies.
—Todd Skinner, age 19
Positive—I totally DISAGREE with the reviewer. I was so surprised at how great this movie was. If you want to focus on the “few” bad things in this movie (I’m telling you, some of the stuff on TV is MUCH worse!) I have to say that you are way too picky. I agree with Alan; the movie has many good qualities that far outway the bad.
As a Christian, I see Adam Sandler’s career turning for the better (not to mention Drew Barrymore) and I’m glad because I really like him and I was disappointed with his other movies. Both Sandler and Barrymore make a cute and realistic couple, moral, and innocent—they just want to be in love, REAL love. If it weren’t for the few cuss words littered through the movie, they could pass off as Christians in the real world.

everyone i know loves the movie. it’s getting great reviews. I absolutely loved it and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
—Jeff James, age 23
Positive—I think you’re being a little hard on the Wedding Singer. I both thought it was really funny and didn’t really have any moral objections beyond the sparse cuss words. And what does the movie portray? Infedelity is wrong (plus Adam and Drew don’t have sex before they are married), it by no means promotes the “George” character as being OK.

In the opening we see a teen learn a harsh lesson as he experiments with alcohol and then vomits. Hardly glorifying alcohol. Other than that, I think if you take the things that happen in the movie too seriously you’re missing the point that it’s a comedy.
—Alan Gamboa
Neutral
Neutral—This wasn’t one of the best Adam Sandler movies that I’ve seen, but I did enjoy it. The soundtrack is a killer, if you’re a big fan of the eighties. There was quite a bit of sexual innuendo, but you have to expect that any time you see an Adam Sandler movie. I do not think, however, that it was any where close to having an “R” rating by any means.

Bottom line: If ya like Adam Sandler, go see the movie. It’s worth the money!
—Adam Klein, Age 18
Negative
Negative—I went to see “The Wedding Singer” with an open mind. When I left the movie I was disgusted! I believe that the overall story was good. However, I had a hard time getting past all the cussing and very obviouse innuendos. This movie reminded me once again the way our society is going. The story could have been great if they would have shown it is a clean light. I left wishing that I had kept my money in my pocket.
—JoAnna Hoyt
Comments from young people
I thought the movie was great! I’ve seen Sandler’s “Happy Gilmore,” in which the F-word was used at least more than 10 times. “The Wedding Singer,” I’m sure I only heard it twice. Not to excuse the fact of using it, but it is a great improvement over a few years. Aside from some of the minor vulgarity, the plot was solid, finding love while bouncing back from being snubbed at your own wedding. Even though it sounds sappy, they threw in some witty, and hilarious humor! I give it two thumbs up!!!
—J.P. O'Connor, age 14
Positive—Great movie. No sex or nudity. Funny and the best romantic comedy that I have ever seen.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Ty, age 16 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—After watching only half of this film, I decided to call it quits. There is a lot of what I might call “silly sexual innuendo” which cheaply targets the younger generation. Then there is the “toned down” foul language, which is still not entertainment, at least not for me. There are so many better choices out there, so I suggest avoiding this one altogether.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Mark, age 55 (USA)