Part I of The Filthy Films of Adam Sandler in Ideological Content Analysis: A Cranko-Politico-Critical Retrospective of the Institute for Advanced Sandler Studies


A relatively restrained Adam Sandler stars as Robbie Hart, a man who a few years previously (to The Wedding Singer‘s retro present, 1985) dreamed of rock renown, but has settled into a less than high-rolling existence as a schmaltzy performer at weddings and currently lives in his sister’s basement.  With his own marriage around the corner, however, things appear to be going well for the personable entertainer – that is, until his shallow fiancee (Angela Featherstone) stands him up on their wedding day, sending him into emotional doldrums that threaten his qualifications and livelihood as a mood-enhancer and spirit-lifter for hire at nuptials.  Fortunately, Robbie’s outlook brightens when he befriends pretty waitress Julia Sullivan (cuddly Drew Barrymore); the only problem is that Julia, while clearly perfect for Robbie, is instead engaged to sleazy, self-absorbed womanizer Glenn (Matthew Glave).

One of the top romantic comedies of 1998, The Wedding Singer  deservedly charmed its way into audiences’ hearts as the perfect date movie, irresistibly sweet for the girls but funny and occasionally gross for the guys.  Sandler’s magic soft-spoken chemistry with Barrymore is uncanny and ought to have spawned more than a mere two films featuring the pair.  This one at least stands as a monument to what Sandler can do with (mostly) tasteful comic material, marred only here and there by hopelessly crude, cheap laughs at the expense of foul-mouthed and feel-copping elderly people.  Brief, atrocious bits like the notorious rapping granny can be forgiven in the light of everything The Wedding Singer does with simple, economically heartwarming panache.

4 out of 5 stars.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Wedding Singer, in addition to being a superlative romantic comedy, is:

7. Pro-gay.  In one of The Wedding Singer‘s several moments of ass-grabbery, two men are seen slow-dancing, holding each other by the glutei maximi.  Robbie’s womanish bandmate and Culture Club aficionado George (Alexis Arquette) is a grotesque but endearing figure.

6. Anti-drug, in the fine 80s tradition.  More than one character vomits after drinking alcohol.  Robbie only turns to Sneaky Pete out of despair, and wakes up after his night of imbibing in a compromising position.  Neither he nor Julia is a habitual drinker.

5. Anti-materialistic/anti-capitalistic.  Robbie makes an abortive attempt at yuppiedom to compete with Glenn, but finds himself unprepared for the gray suit-and-tie existence.  As a representative of the financial world, Glenn is naturally a complete scumbag.

4. Anti-slut.  Julia objects to the idea of tongue-kissing at her wedding, insisting that at the most there might be a little conservative “church tongue”.

3. Traditionalist/pro-family.  A point of contention between Robbie and his ex-fiancee is his intention to raise a family in his hometown.  He maintains close relations with his surviving family members.

2. Pro-miscegenation.  The entire plot revolves around the cutely inevitable union of Robbie, an undisguised Jew, and flaxen-haired, cherub-cheeked Julia.  Also, Hart’s Jewishness in conjunction with his Anglo-Saxon surname suggest a mixed ancestry.  Two extras, a black man and a white woman, are seen entering a club together.

1. Pro-marriage.  A romantic comedy titled The Wedding Singer could hardly be otherwise.  Robbie’s brother-in-law confides that passion can fade after years of mundane married life, but an elderly couple celebrating their anniversary demonstrate that marriages can also endure.