Robbie and Julia from The Wedding Singer. credit: New Line Cinema

Review: The Wedding Singer (1998) *****

In The Wedding Singer, the titular character gets left at the altar at his own wedding, then falls in love with a woman about to walk down the aisle with her jerk fiance. But make it 80s! In 1985, CD players are brand-new exotic technology, hair is enormous, and all fabrics look like they belong on Barbie dolls. The Wedding Singer is Adam Sandler’s romcom love letter to perms and synths. But also an extremely adorable Drew Barrymore.

This is easily my favorite Adam Sandler movie. It’s heartfelt, sincere, and has some of the funniest delivery of the simplest lines.

He plays Robbie Hart, who’s completely out-of-step with the Greed Is Good attitudes of the 1980s. Since leaving his high school era hair metal band, he’s been mostly making money by singing at weddings. He also teaches music locally in the community. But he’s not really someone who invoices others, so he gets paid in, say, meatballs dumped directly into his palms.

It’s not that he’s without ambition; he still writes songs and cares passionately about music. He just doesn’t desire grand financial gain. He does it for the love of music and the love of making people happy. His fiancee, Linda, can’t understand this; she leaves him at the altar. But a waitress who works the same weddings, Julia, finds this extremely charming.

Unfortunately Julia is with the biggest d-bag on the planet. He’s got a Delorean, popped collars, and a penchant for cheating. He’s marrying Julia only because he doesn’t want to break up and he trusts that she isn’t after his money.

Robbie helps Julia plan her wedding instead, since the evil fiance is disinterested, and Robbie and Julia fall for each other. Hard. Thanks to Billy Idol, they get a happily-ever-after.

You know what’s surreal about The Wedding Singer in this, the year of our Lord 2024? It was only thirteen years between the movie’s setting and its release (1985 vs 1998), so an equivalent movie now would take place in 2011. They wouldn’t be singing Boy George. They’d be banging hits by The Black Eyed Peas. They’d wear those glasses with the slats in them, business casual everywhere, and modeling themselves after Disco Stick-era Lady Gaga.

Now we’re almost 40 years away from 1985, which is the same distance that 1985 was from 1945 (the immediate postwar period). Isn’t that weird? Isn’t time’s slippery nature strange and unsettling? Don’t worry about it! Robbie just wrote a really cute song for Julia! They have similar values! They’re practicing the altar kiss!

I love this movie so much. My only regret is that streaming-era versions of the movie don’t have the post-credits karaoke, like the VHS did. Wait, how old am I?

(image credit: New Line Cinema)

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