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adam sandler turns up the charm in his latest romantic comedy , the wedding singer .
unfortunately , that also has the effect of softening his edge .
he's nowhere near his peak of happy gilmore , not that it was much of one .
he's certainly not helped here by a rather frail plot .
the year is 1985 , letting the whole film obsess with 80s nostalgia .
adam sandler is nice guy robbie , the titular wedding singer , who entertains at the local reception hall by belting out his interpretations of classic 80s hits .
robbie's life is thrown into turmoil when his fiancee , linda ( angela featherstone ) , leaves him at the altar .
however , things are looking up when he meets julia ( drew barrymore ) , a waitress at the hall .
she's the perfect woman , but for one small flaw : she's engaged to be married to a slick junk bond king , glenn ( matthew glave ) .
so , most of the film deals with the slow realization by robbie that he and julia are in love , and his attempts to stop the wedding .
as far as plots go , it's a pretty thin and tired one .
to fill the gaps , the wedding singer delivers heaping spoonfuls of 1980s nostalgia .
from boy george to michael jackson , from miami vice to dallas , from the first cds to the last rubik's cubes , this film revels in all the minutiae .
and then there's the music . . .
learning a lesson from the successful soundtracks to grosse pointe blank , and romy and michele's high school reunion , this film packs more 80s songs in the film than the running time will allow .
as a result , most songs get maybe a lyric or a half , but you can almost see the bright gleam in the record executives' eyes : the wedding singer vols .
2 , 3 , and 4 !
while the nonstop 80s riffs get incredibly tiring , at least they distract you from the plot .
at least last year's my best friend's wedding stirred up the standard " keep your true love from marrying someone else " plot by making the rival a nice person .
here , glenn is such a lowly rat of a man that you never see what julia saw in him .
barrymore , on the other hand , is simply charming as julia .
which leaves us with adam sandler .
he's at his best in the film when his nice guy persona fades a little ( such as when he has a breakdown on stage during a wedding reception ) .
when he's in full nice-guy mode , he's more pathetic than endearing .
the film boasts several cameos ( most notably by steve buscemi and jon lovitz ) .
but none of them work well at all .
buscemi's role as a drunken best man simply fails to be humorous .
lovitz , on the other hand , as a rival wedding singer , makes you long for his good old days on saturday night live , where he was actually funny .
the only cameo which has some appeal is a guest appearance by a classic 80s rocker during the film's finale ( surprisingly , one of the only plot-related scenes which actually works . )
adam sandler still has some work to do before he can become a dependable leading man .
while he attempts to change his image in the wedding singer , the end result is no net gain .