Since 1998, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore have been paired in three outings as a couple waiting to happen. As friends first and then co-stars, they've done comedic heartbreak in The Wedding Singer, retraced romantic beginnings in 50 First Dates, and the hard life of being a single parent in Blended.
Throughout their pairings, this Chaplin meets Hepburn/Peck power couple have given us cheers, tears, and years of their acting gifts and unique chemistry. So let's look at their films and the connections to new films and old and what are the sweet and the sour of their power pairings.
With each film we will look at the the following :
THE GOOD: What clicks with these movies and what works for the film.
THE BAD: What takes away from the film and keeps it form being great.
THE CONNECTED: How the film relates to other movies or shows for the fan finding something similar.
THE WEDDING SINGER (1998)
The first pairing for our cuddly couple with is with Sandler as the wedding singer in question, Robbie Hart, and Barrymore as the sweetly hopeful romantic, Julia Sullivan. Although mired in nostalgia at times, this movie is a fun, song-filled comedy for the thirty and up crowd.
The usual, aggressively loud Sandler spends most of the movie as a laid back romantic ,who until he is burned by a bride, is able to deal with crazy relatives at weddings, guide the raucous receptions afterward, and deal with his own nutty family. It's not until after the afore mentioned burn do we get to see bursts of Sandler's trademark manic outbursts and subtle, slicing asides when dealing with some of the less friendly elements in the film.
Barrymore's sweet turn as our love interest, Julia is terrific. Her character navigates a jerk of a fiance, a sweet but promiscuous cousin, and the job of being a put upon waitress. Her evolution from Robbie's buddy to special lady, and her energetic yet restrained performance gives joy and pain in beautiful measure.
One of the main issues of the film is it sometimes gets too hung up in its own nostalgia and need to emulate the 80's film formula. From helpful celebrity playing himself too carefully, dropped in plot points to help move things along, to the moments loaded to remind the viewer of what the previous moment meant, these issues with the film detract from an overall fun loving romantic romp.
This film has roots in the teen romance films of the 80's with lots of little nods to John Hughes pictures , Say Anything and Working Girl. This film revels in its pedigree in pop culture romantic flicks of the 80’s.
50 FIRST DATES (2004)
The second team up between Sandler and Barrymore proves to be somewhat less sweet and subtle and more aggressive in the slapstick/gross out department. Sandler is Henry Roth, a sea park biologist with commitment issues and skewed sense of priority. He falls for Barrymore's Lucy Whitmore, a young woman with retrograde amnesia, whose father and brother try to recreate every day the day she lost her memory.
With the help of Rob Schneider playing his spaced out side kick, and Sean Astin as Lucy's pumped up brother, Sandler gets to throw away some subtle and get loud and crazy through out the film. Barrymore's sweet, strong willed character gives her a chance to flex between girl next door and the girl in the time bubble her family built her. When they are together, they shine and get a chance to show some of the magic from their previous pairing. Also, despite the tragedy at the center of the film,the fulfillment of love and hope it delivers at the end is heartwarming.
While treated with some tenderness and respect the variations on gags and scenarios built around Lucy's amnesia begin to wear thin. Also, the gross out humor, especially based around Schneider's character and our biologists animal buddies take this film to far over into juvenile humor territory.
With little pulls from the 1940 flick, I Love You Again, or the more recent romantic drama, The Vow, this film has heart and roots in this little genre, if we could just get past the seal poop.
In the final film on this list Barrymore plays Lauren Reynolds, a divorcee who deal with two boys and an absentee father. Sandler plays Jim Friedman, a widower and loving father who works in sporting goods, he has three daughters, and has no idea how to deal with them. The two go on a disastrous blind date, and through the magic of romantic comedy plot lines, wind up at an African resort for blended families.
This film's use of a more common phenomenon of blended families is a good backdrop for the film. Sandler and Barrymore are more comfortable with their parts and their ages on this film and the relaxed atmosphere allows the audience to feel like they are part of the family. Taking full advantage of the resort back drop and the awkward needs for Moms and Dads for daughters and sons, it has a built in sweetness to it that smooths out the film. Also, Sandler and Barrymore allowed to play off of each other as protective, though, overwhelmed parents shines throughout the film.
Like the Wedding Singer, and most sitcoms/current comedy films, this flick suffers from over cuteness dropped in the viewers laps and predictable audience cues. Without meaning to at times, Terry Crews character as a resort host jarringly steals the scene from our leads a few times, and creates minor disjointed points in the film.
While easy connections to both the original and remake of Yours, Mine, and Ours are obvious, this film, while unintentional, is a terrific homage and/or update to The Brady Bunch.
There you have it , a good look at the Sandler/Barrymore rom-coms, hope this information is something you could have used yesterday.