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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 8/9/99

The Wedding Singer
1998 (1998) New Line

review by Frank Ortiz, special to The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

The Wedding Singer Film Ratings: B-

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B+/A/B

Specs and Features

97 mins, PG-13, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, full frame (1.33:1), dual-sided, single-layered, Snapper packaging, cast & crew bios, "wedding album" picture gallery, "wedding chapel" trivia game, "karaoke bar" 80s music sing-along feature (songs: Hold Me Now, Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, White Wedding, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Rapper's Delight), soundtrack page, animated film-themed menu screens with music, scene access (24 chapters), languages: English & French (DD 5.1), subtitles: English, French & Spanish, Close Captioned

Anyone that remembers listening to Culture Club, Billy Idol or the Police on the radio (back when their songs were new), should really enjoy The Wedding Singer. It's a cute romantic comedy, that also celebrates (and makes fun of) the things we remember from the 1980s - the music, colors we might have worn, or worse, those skinny ties and funky colored suits (like the ones I used to have).

The plot is simple, but works nicely for this comedy. Robbie Hart, the best wedding singer in town (played by Adam Sandler), is left at the altar on his own wedding day. As Robbie contends with his frustration and gloom, the next wedding he plays at turns to mayhem, when he ends up singing Love Stinks. Robbie's lost the meaning to his life, but he does find comfort in spending time with his new friend Julia (Drew Barrymore). Julia needs help with her own wedding plans, and Robbie is there to oblige. And as they hang out together, Robbie learns that Julia's fiancée is a major jerk, and more importantly, that he is falling in love with Julia himself.

There are quite a few laughs here, and some cute scenes as you see the story unfold. The story may be a little predictable, and a bit simple, but it definitely works. One example is that Robbie, being such a nice guy, gives singing lessons to a nice old lady, who pays him in meatballs. A little goes a long way in this movie. And the fun sights and sounds of the 80s are definitely glorified and exploited in this film. From the florescent colors, to the Miami Vice fashions, the look and music add a lot to this movie, and complement the story well. This is a cute film that anyone can enjoy, as long as you like humor. You don't even have to be an Adam Sandler fan to enjoy the movie (but of course, that might help).

Best of all, the two actors seem to have great chemistry on film, despite the fact that there's not a lot of character development. Before the end comes, you really want to see them get together - they're easy to like. Adam Sandler is good here, without going overboard. I actually think that this was a great opportunity for Sandler to show other facets of his talent on film, including performing a few songs. Drew was adorable (which I did not expect) and even a little innocent. And the supporting cast of "caricatures" definitely add a lot to the movie, including bit parts with Steve Buscemi, Jon Lovitz, Billy Idol and Kevin Nealon. I must admit that the scenes with Buscemi left me in stitches - excellent casting.

The DVD provides both a letterboxed widescreen (aspect ratio 1.85:1) and full frame picture, depending on which side of the disc you play. And let's hear it for New Line Home Video - they made the widescreen picture enhanced for 16x9 as well (just superb)! I didn't notice any major issues with the video. There is some edge enhancement visible, but overall this is a great transfer. Colors are bright, and the blacks are deep, with great contrast. The sound is even better - I'd say excellent. The actual wedding scenes are well mixed, making good use of surround sound to place you right there at a table in the reception. Other than that, there is good use of the rear channels with the music (which is great - this is a fun soundtrack), but not a whole lot otherwise. The dialogue is clear and easy to understand.

There are a few extras on the disc that make surfing fun. There are no trailers available, but you do get some other interesting things. To start with, there are some fun "3D" animated menus, that help move you around to the various features. You get a "wedding album" of production photographs, a "wedding chapel" trivia game (which is neat, and has quite a lot of questions - I scrolled through it for a few minutes and didn't get a duplicate), and some cast & crew bios. The best extra however, is the "karaoke bar" - an 80s music sing-along feature. Just about everyone (but me) likes karaoke, and you get 5 songs to sing with, among them White Wedding by Billy Idol (the retro-punk icon, who also appears in the film), and the Thompson Twins' Hold Me Now. Strangely enough, a generic cover band performs the songs (none of them are by the original artists... or The Original Artists, for that matter!). Oh well. You do at least get to turn the vocals on or off while you're singing, using the "audio" button on your remote.

The Wedding Singer is a funny movie, and there are enough extras to support a good buy. This is one DVD that offers plenty of humor, and a nifty blast to a recent past, with lots of sights and sounds from the 80s. I would recommend that everyone at least rent this disc - it's good fun. And if you're anything of an 80s music fan, you will not be disappointed. This is a New Line DVD worth spinning, and it's a fun one to share with friends.

Frank Ortiz
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