I did not rush out to see this film for various reasons: 1) Films made by SNL alum are generally average to poor renditions of bad, one-joke skits; 2) SNL alum are generally not great actors; and 3) Having lived through and survived the 80's once, I was not in a hurry to go back...considering the decade has barely been over. That said, this film pleasantly surprised me. Sandler, though not a great actor, has an endearing charm that can't be denied, especially when he's playing the underdog. In this film, he plays a wedding singer who's left at the altar on the day of his own nuptials. He is so devestated by this, he can no longer perform at wedding receptions. All Robbie has ever wanted was a family and a woman he could spend the rest of his life with. Unfortunately, he picked Linda a woman who was only in love with him because she thought he might have a future as a rock star. Once it became clear he would never be a famous musician she was no longer interested. The problem is she waited 3 years to tell him.
Meanwhile, Julia (Barrymore), is having love dilemmas of her own. She and Robbie become friends while working at the same weddings. She's been engaged to her fiance Glenn for 4 years and is afraid he will never marry her. When Glenn finally does agree to a date, Julia has mixed feelings about it, mainly because she's starting to fall for Robbie. Since Glenn is uninterested in helping her plan their big day, she enlists Robbie's help since he knows every wedding person in town. He doesn't want to help intially, he's still brokenhearted over his wedding fiasco, but he can't say no to Julia. Their friendship grows from there and the happy couple finally realizes their feelings for each other before it's too late. The finale is wonderfully sweet as Robbie pours his heart out to her in a song...on an airplane filled with people rooting for him. Sandler and Barrymore have great chemistry in this film. They are both down-to-earth and charming as these two people just looking for someone to grow old with. These aren't complicated characters, but they are ones you wish were your friends.
One of the best parts of this film has to be Sandler's original song compositions. The one he writes and performs for Julia pouring out his feelings about his ex-fiancee is one of the funniest things I have ever heard. Sandler plays it as straight as he can and it is both hysterical and heart-rending. Everyone has experienced a bad breakup and this song says it all. I have to say I could have done without all of the 80's references. Some of the jokes were funny, but for the most part they were unnecessary and obvious. I know the film needed a hook, but it didn't really matter what the time period was. Sandler and Barrymore could have been acting on the moon and it would have worked just as well. The success of this film lies in their relationship, not bad Miami Vice and Madonna jokes. If you tired of watching Sandler play halfwitted losers, but still enjoy his sense of humor, check this one out. For once, Sandler acts somewhat normal and shows his sweeter side. It's a welcome change.