American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
"The Wedding Singer'' tells the story of, yes, a wedding singer from New Jersey, who is cloyingly sweet at some times and a cruel monster at others. The filmmakers are obviously unaware of his split personality; the screenplay reads like a collaboration between Jekyll and Hyde. Did anybody, at any stage, gave the story the slightest thought? The plot is so familiar the end credits should have issued a blanket thank-you to a century of Hollywood lovecoms. Through a torturous series of contrived misunderstandings, the boy and girl avoid happiness for most of the movie, although not as successfully as we do. It's your basic off-the-shelf formula in which two people fall in love, but are kept apart because (a) they're engaged to creeps; (b) they say the wrong things at the wrong times, and (c) they get bad information. It's exhausting, seeing the characters work so hard at avoiding the obvious.
Of course there's the obligatory scene where the good girl goes to the good boy's house to say she loves him, but the bad girl answers the door and lies to her. I spent the weekend looking at old Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies, which basically had the same plot: She thinks he's a married man, and almost gets married to the slimy bandleader before he finally figures everything out and declares his love at the 11th hour.
The big differences between Astaire and Rogers in "Swing Time" and Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in "The Wedding Singer" is are that (1) in 1936 they were more sophisticated than we are now, and knew the plot was inane, and had fun with that fact, and (2) they could dance. One of the sad byproducts of the dumbing-down of America is that we're now forced to witness the goofy plots of the 1930s played sincerely, as if they were really deep.
Sandler is the wedding singer. He's engaged to a slut who stands him up at the altar because, sob, "the man I fell in love with six years ago was a rock singer who licked the microphone like David Lee Roth--and now you're only a . . . a . . . wedding singer!" Barrymore, meanwhile, is engaged to a macho monster who brags about how he's cheating on her. Sandler and Barrymore meet because she's a waitress at the weddings where he sings. We know immediately they are meant for each other. Why do we know this? Because we are conscious and sentient. It takes them a lot longer.