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February 16, 1998 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-02-16

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8A- The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 16, 1998

'Singer' hits nostalgic note

Courtesy of New Line Cinema
Drew Barrymore is living In a material world in the '80s throwback "Singer."
IEFI!1TH OIr T 1
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By Ryan Posly
Daily Arts WVriter
Based solely on soundtrack, "The Wedding Singer' is the
movie of the year; any film that includes both Huey Lewis
& the News and The Smiths within the same hour and a half
has accomplished the wonderfully impossible in terms of
fringe '80s kitsch. Indeed, most of the time, the newest
Adam Sandler comedy is not much more than a delightful
trip down memory lane - it's so simple it's scary. And yet
it's also one of the most mindlessly enjoyable movies in
recent memory.
Adam Sandler is best known for playing a variation of the
immature goofball or the intellectually stunted man-child.
either on "Saturday Night Live" or in such idiotic films as
"Billy Madison" and "Happy Gilmore." But some of his
lesser-known characters from "SNL," as well as many of the
songs on his two comedy albums, have showcased a more
subdued persona and a sharp wit. While it is still a stretch.
it is not too surprising to find Sandler in a romantic come-
dy in which he plays the low-key nice guy and lets the story,
instead of the antics, take center stage.
Although the plot is simple, it is also surprisingly sweet.
The year is 1985 - the height of spandex, man-made "hot"
colors and big hair. Robbie Hart (Sandler) is the most pop-
ular wedding singer in his small suburban town. He is
about to get married to his longtime sweetheart when she
dumps him at the altar. Thrown into a state of depression,
Robbie's life starts to take a turn for the better as he begins
to spend time with Julia, played by the glowing Drew
Barrymore. Julia is a reception-hall waitress whose own
approaching wedding is doomed by her cheating, asinine
fiance.
In a story like this, it's not giving anything away to say
that Robbie and Julia fall in love, Julia realizes the errors
of her impending nuptials and they all live happily ever
after. But despite its obvious lack of originality, there's
something about this story that grows on'us until its final,
hilarious climax, at which point you're smiling so widely
that you don't care if you've seen it a million times
before.
Maybe it's the intense nostalgia of the film. Frank
Coraci, the director, capitalizes on every opportunity to

The
Wedding
Singer
At Briarwood
and Showcase

throw in the obvious '80s references. A Freddy Kreuger
mask here. a Dunkin Donuts commercial there, all the
ridiculously flashy clothes, all the absurdly catchy songs.
It all adds up to a movie that draws a substantial amount
of its humor, as well as its charm, from its over-the-top
'Sts setting.
Perhaps it's the finale itself that elevates this mop is to
more than just a cheesy romantic comedy. The last 15
minutes are inspired and feature a sweet Sandler and his

guitar, with a little help from '80s
rock icon Billy Idol (yes, the real
Billy Idol playing himself 13 years
ago). Or maybe it's the bizarre
6ncredited appearances of such peo-
ple as Jon Lovitz (as a rival wedding
singer) and Steve Buscemi (as the
less-liked brother of a groom at one
of the weddings). Or it could be the
wray that the film, for no real reason.
has a great deal of fun w;ith the elder-
ly (not makes fun of, but has fun
with).
All are valid reasons why "The
Wedding Singer" latches onto us and
doesn't let go, yet the primary reason

Original
#cynicisms
rule'Dania'
By Michael Galloway
Daily Arts Writer
The second season of"Daria,"
the cartoon show chronicling the
adventures of that cynical
teenage iconoclast of beauty and
popularity, premieres tonight
and, hopefully, a lot of people
will tune in. But after "Metrose
Place" and "Ally McBeal "
many television viewers might
be feeling a little too guilty to do
so.
After all. "Mel rose Place" is all
about sex, ambition, and hot bods,
and "Ally McBeal" undermines
itself a tad because all of its
female characters are what Daria's
popular sister Quinn woild call
"cute."
Quint and her fellow mem-
bers of the Lawndale Fashion
Club hold cuteness as the ulti-
mate measure of a person. But
if TV movies, magazines and
fashion are any indication, the
majority of uis feet the same
way. In the second episode of
the new season, Quinn's friends
Sandy and Tiffany deny that
looks are important right after
Sandy asks if Quinn is was
cuter than she,
"Darla"'reveals these hypocriti-
cal aspects of society, and while
the show might seem a bit con-
frontational to viewers, the effort

u

simply is the presence and chemistry of Sandler and
Barrymore. It is so obvious that they are meant for each
other that we can do nothing but root for them. Sandler
proves that he doesn't have to play the loud-mouthed idiot
in sophomoric comedies to get laughs, and Barrymore --
far his superior as an actor - proves that sometimes all it
takes to succeed on screen is a radiance that will break the
audience's heart.
On the surface. there is absolutely nothing about "The
Wedding Singer" that strikes one as exceptional - it's like
an American "Four Weddings and a Funeral' without the
incomparable Hugh Grant. Yet when you see it, you can't
resist it. And although it's burdened by a slow start and
heavy-handed dialogue, it's bound to become the film that
sparks a wave of disturbing '80s nostalgia, and if you miss
that, then as we all somehow used to say your ass is
grass.

Cafe Shapiro
A study break of student readings & free coffee
Where talking in the Library is encouraged..
Come hear your peers read from their works. You'll hear stories, poems,
memoirs, you name it. Each night will feature different writers.
Cafe Shapiro is free and open to everyone. Complimentary coffee will be served.
Readings will begin at 8:30 pm in the Shapiro Undergraduate Library's
atrium on each of the following dates:
Sunday, February 15
Monday, February 16
'Tbesday, February 17
Wednesday, February 18
Cafe Shapiro is part of the University ofMichigan s YotA
(Year of lumanities & Arts) celebration and is sponsored by the Unirersitt L brarJ,

Get some 'Sense'
In honor of the release of
Marlon Wayans' latest film, Daily
Arts is knocking our readers
senseless - "Senseless" that
is. Also starring David Spade, the
film will be given a special sneak
preview screening Wednesday
night and you can be there. To
get yourself a little "Sense," stop
by the Daily Arts office in the
PublicationsY
Building atf
420 Maynard ' '°
St. after 1 >'
p.m. today
and name
t wo other
Wayans fami
ly members.:

is worthwhile.
) a r i a
M or g en -
dorffer is a
smart, sar-
castic and
unemotional
high school
student at
L a w n d a 1 e
Hich who
b a s i c a I11 y
doesn't care
that she is
unpopular. "I
don't have
low self-

Darla
MTV
Mondays at 10:30
eau

Hurry in. It's Bonus Time at the Clinique counter.

esteem. I have low esteem for
everyone else," she says.
Luckily, Daria has her best
friend Jane -- also smart and
unpopular - an artist who has
taken the school's self-esteem
class several times. Jane explains
so mewh at self-mockingly that
she likes having low self-esteem
because it makes her feel special.
She has three sisters --Summer,
Wind, Penny - and a brother,
Trent. Uncharacteristically, Darla
almost has interest in this unem-
ployed, graduated band member,
who sleeps when he's not practic-
ing with his band.
In tonight's episode, "Arts N'
Crass," Daria's friend Jane is
talked into participating in the
statewide student art contest.
Students are asked to give their
vision of high school life, but
since it's not specified that the
message has to be positive, Jane
decides to send a negative one
exposing the reality of student
life. She asks Daria for help
because, as Jane put it to her,
"you're the most negative person
I know."
After a long brainstorming ses-
sion, coming up with ideas like
naming a hanging roll of fly paper
"It's important to be attractive,"
the duo creates a finished product.
But the glory-seeking principal,
Ms. Angela Li, and the overly sen-
sitive English teacher, Mr. O'Neil,
don't think the message is positive
enough. The episode champions
artistic integrity as well as the
importance of actually saying
"don't" in a message meant to dis-
courage.
"Dania"'s only flaw is that the
characters are too stereotypical.
They can seem sterile and Dana's
sarcastic remarks can seem pre-
dictable at times.
Still, tonight's episode is fresh
and original, and who can honest-
ly say that about "Melrose
Place?"

0

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