The Wedding Singer: A Belated 25th Anniversary

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer. Courtesy of New Line Cinema/Warner Bros.

The Wedding Singer marked its 25th anniversary in February and the film remains one of Adam Sandler’s best comedies.

I meant to review film earlier this year for its anniversary. Unfortunately, I was still recovering from Sundance and didn’t get around to doing so. It wasn’t until catching Sandler receiving the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on the DVR in which I made sure to take care of the rewatch for the anniversary review. Watching the film now is different because I only really watched it during my teenage years, either in theaters or at home on TV. It’s not currently on a streaming service, which means renting it digitally or buying it on physical media.

Robbie Hart (Adam Sandler) is a wedding singer in 1985 although he also does Bar Mitzvah parties. He’s doing it until he somehow gets a break as a rock star but that’s not anytime soon. Meanwhile Julia Sullivan (Drew Barrymore) is a waitress for the caterers handling the parties where Robbie sings. While she’s initially engaged to Glenn Gulia (Matthew Glave), the two do not have a wedding date when Robbie meets her. But as we all know, movie law dictates that the engagement will fall apart and she’ll fall in love with Robbie. Things start moving quickly after Robbie’s fiancé, Linda (Angela Featherstone), leaves him. Love stinks, right?!?  Anyway, Robbie is crushed to know surprise. Without Julia in his life, who knows what would have happened. The movie has been in the pop culture zeitgeist for over two decades so I’m not going to dive much into the plot.

One of the most memorable things about the film is Robbie rushing onto a plane to win Julia back. With the help of Billy Idol and the plane’s flight attendants, Robbie starts singing “Grow Old With You.” It leads to a happy ending. It’s doubtful that we’ll ever get a sequel (no, really, it’s not necessary) but we can only imagine that Robbie and Julia are very much still in love with each other.

I saw the film once or twice in theaters upon its original theatrical release. The fact that it turned 25 years old in February makes me feel old. In any event, it’s one of the better comedies starring the Sandman. That’s the thing about Sandler though. Up until the late 2010s, his comedies were a mixed bag. You either loved them or hated them. I admit that it’s the terrible ones that led me to skip a number of Sandler comedies. The Wedding Singer marked a big transition point in Sandler’s career. While Sandler’s Happy Gilmore had a love interest, Drew Barrymore’s Julia is every bit Sandler’s equal in this film. To be honest, Barrymore’s presence elevates the film–it doesn’t hurt that Carrie Fisher made the role better with an uncredited rewrite.

The chemistry between Sandler and Barrymore works enough in the film. If it didn’t, they would not have starred in another two films together: 50 First Dates and Blended. If not for her TV show, I’m sure they would probably do more films together. However, this is their only film with a 1980s setting, which means the hairstyles and clothing are period-appropriate. The duo might not be another Tracy and Hepburn but they don’t necessarily need to be. That being said, next to Drew Barrymore, Sandler has appeared frequently opposite Jennifer Aniston.

Sandler and Barrymore succeed in elevating The Wedding Singer as one of the better romantic comedies in the late 1990s.

DIRECTOR: Frank Coraci
CAST: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Christine Taylor, Allen Covert, Angela Featherstone, Matthew Glave, Alexis Arquette, Frank Sivero, Christina Pickles

New Line Cinema released The Wedding Singer in theaters on February 13, 1998. Grade: 4/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.