We gave it a B-
Adam Sandler usually wears his hair in a bullet-like buzz cut, as if shorn for satirical battle, but in The Wedding Singer (New Line), a romantic comedy set in 1985, he’s bedecked with a crown of frou-frou new-wave curls that tame and soften his features. The thrusting nose and snaggly snarl have lost their bad-seed aggressiveness. Strutting around in an electric blue blazer, he looks like the unholy offspring of Bob Dylan and Rick Springfield.
Sandler plays Robbie Hart, a once-aspiring rock star whose glory days as the spandex-clad lead singer of a band called Final Warning are behind him. Now Robbie ekes out his living as a suburban wedding singer, performing the chart-busting hits of the day in front of sloshed tuxedoed throngs. As the opening credits flash, Robbie and his band dig in to a rousing rendition of that demon-love novelty single “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record),” with Sandler vamping the audience on screen and off; the naked narcissism of his joy in performing is infectious. The moment Robbie steps off stage, though, he turns into a sheepish good guy, the sort of fellow who is always trying to do a noble turn (he gives singing lessons to an old lady and gets paid in meatballs!) and is destined to cheat himself out of happiness because he trusts people too much. Welcome to the new Adam Sandler: the comedian as Nice Jewish Boy.
In just a few days, Robbie will be left at the altar by his bitch-babe fiancée, who thought she was marrying a rock star instead of a glorified prom-band leader. Luckily, Robbie meets Julia (Drew Barrymore), a beautiful waitress who’s as sweet and solicitous as he is, and who, like him, has gotten herself engaged to the wrong person. The movie centers on the riveting question, When will Julia figure out that her smarmy, George Michael-bearded, Miami Vice-jacketed, DeLorean-driving, junk-bond-hawking, compulsively unfaithful jerk of a fiancé is unworthy of her affections? The Wedding Singer is like an Elvis movie set in a cardboard-cutout version of the mid-’80s, with a pop-rock nerd as its hero. As a romantic comedy, the picture is pleasant, predictable, and utterly weightless. Yet it has the good fortune to be one of the first of what will probably turn into a deluge of glibly packaged ’80s-nostalgia flicks.