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HTF REVIEW: The Wedding Singer - Totally Awesome Edition



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#1 of 16 Matt Stone

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Posted April 22 2006 - 08:23 AM

[img]http://www.hometheaterforum.com/ronsreviews/covers/70215.jpg">
The Wedding Singer: Totally Awesome Edition
Directed By: Frank Coraci

Studio: New Line
Year: 1998
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (Anamorphic)
Running Time: 1 Hr. 30 Mins.
Rating: NR
Audio: 5.1 DTS (English), 5.1 Dolby Digital (English, French), 2.0 Dolby Digital (English)
Subtitles: English
MSRP: $19.95
Street Date: 25 April, 2006

Review Date: 22 April, 2006
(Ratings are out of five stars)

Summary
I won’t go into great detail retelling the plot to The Wedding Singer, because if you’re here, you’ve probably seen it already. Needless to say, it features Adam Sandler as the titular Wedding Singer and Drew Barrymore as his already-engaged romantic conquest. The unique aspect of the film is not its stereotypical rom-com plot, but it’s setting: the 1980s. Rather than placing itself in a specific moment in time, The Wedding Singer opts to show a variety of 80s clichés that may or may not have happened in proximity to each other. I vaguely remember reading an Entertainment Weekly article when the film was first released comparing its historical accuracy to Titanic. Maybe I’m brain-dead, but when I’m watching a typical Adam Sandler movie, I’m not exactly looking for historical relevance. The Wedding Singer probably is the most balanced of Adam Sandler’s early films. Granted, it takes a certain sense of humor to appreciate these stupid/funny movies, but I always seem to gravitate to this, Happy Gilmore, and Billy Madison when they’re on USA at 3am.

From a filmmaking perspective, the movie is pretty by-the-book. The camera work is far from groundbreaking, the plot is a clichéd romantic comedy, but the jokes come pretty quick and they almost always hit their mark. It had been a few years since I’ve watched The Wedding Singer, but I found it every bit as funny as I had before. This new and improved DVD release contains an additional 5 minutes of footage not available in the theatrical cut of the movie. The new footage really didn’t do anything special for me, but it was well integrated because I had a hard time picking it out.

I’ll freely admit it: I’m a Wedding Singer fan. My brain tells me it’s bad, but I just can’t stop laughing. After this film, Sandler went on to make The Waterboy, which represented a huge jump in popularity for the actor/comedian. I tend to prefer his earlier film s(this and the previously mentioned Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore). They remind me of old SNL sketches rather than over-long, clichéd rom-com/dramas (eh, hem…Big Daddy).

Film Rating: Video
I was a little disappointed with the video. Don’t get me wrong, it was far from bad, but the overall picture was a little soft. Fortunately that was the only real flaw in the transfer. Colors were very vibrant and clear, with only the occasional hint of grain during darker scenes. Stylistically the movie is pretty well lit, but the composition is very boring. I own the original DVD release, but was unable to do an A-B comparison between the two because my DVD collection is currently packed up in boxes (I recently moved).

Video Rating: [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/a/a7/htf_images_smilies_half.gif[/img]

Audio
The DVD features both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 tracks. I did some simple A-B comparisons and didn’t notice any significant differences. The DTS may have been a little clearer, but it was pretty close. At its core, The Wedding Singer is a talking-heads picture, but it does feature a good deal of tunes from the 80s. The music sounds top notch, and the DVD mastering gods at New Line did a great job of separating the noise out to multiple channels. Again, from memory I can’t really recall how the original sounded, but you’ll be very happy with this version if you choose to upgrade.

Audio Rating: [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img]

Extras
A Backstage Look at The Wedding Singer on Broadway (10:32) – I was unaware that The Wedding Singer made the move to Broadway, but this little featurette examined the adaptation of the film to the musical format. The featurette is comprised of behind-the-scenes interviews with the principle performers as well as the crew. It was short and sweet and fairly interesting if you didn’t know anything about the musical.
’80s Mix Tapes – An interesting, albeit useless featurette that allows you to jump to all of the songs in the film. At first I thought that the DVD contained the actual music (which would have been neat), but instead it just shows the ~30 or so seconds of the music actually contained in the film. Each entry also includes a short blurb about the song’s relevance to the era.

The DVD also features the original theatrical trailer and some sneak peeks at other New Line movies. Let me also add that I received a Wedding Singer rubiks cube with the screener that New Line sent. I’m not sure if these are going out with the DVD at stores, but it was a fun little side item.

Extras Rating: [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/a/a7/htf_images_smilies_half.gif[/img]

In Closing…
Call me a sap, but I enjoy the clichéd fun that The Wedding Singer presents. Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore make up a great team, and the work from the supporting cast is terrific as well. Unfortunately, this DVD doesn’t really offer much to prompt an upgrade. I’m pretty sure the transfer is a little cleaner, but the extras are slim-to-none, so you’ll be hard pressed to find a reason to double dip. On the other hand, if you don’t already own The Wedding Singer, this would be a perfect excuse to take the plunge.

Overall Rating: [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img]

Matt Stone
22 April, 2005

Edited for Extras Rating typo - 4/23/06 @ 11:48
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#2 of 16 Carlo Medina

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Posted April 22 2006 - 02:06 PM

Is the audio crackling that pervades the first release gone?

In the opening credits song there was a bit of it.

Thanks!

#3 of 16 Brian Little

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Posted April 22 2006 - 05:15 PM

And here is yet another let's release the same movie with hardly any new content yet add a slap happy silly subtitle name just to get Joe Six Pack to buy it all over again. Picture and sound don't sound much different from the original release either. I think I will pass on this one. Thanks for the review however just to give me heads up.
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#4 of 16 Andrew Radke

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Posted April 22 2006 - 07:21 PM

I never did get around to buying the original release, so I'll gladly pick this up. Thanks to TBS, and their commitment to repetitiveness, I've seen this many times over the past couple of years. Therefore it should be easy for me to pinpoint where the extra 5 minutes of footage were integrated. I agree that Sandler and Barrymore have amazing chemistry, which makes this and "50 First Dates" 2 of my favorite romantic comedies. I really wouldn't mind if they made a 3rd film together. Hell, it worked for Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Posted Image
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#5 of 16 Matt Stone

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Posted April 23 2006 - 03:47 AM

Quote:
Is the audio crackling that pervades the first release gone?

I didn't notice any on the new version, but didn't remember that problem with the original release.
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#6 of 16 Nigel McN

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Posted April 23 2006 - 04:03 AM

Wow, that is a pretty paltry amount of extras, especially for something so fantastic as a "Totally Awesome Edition".

Geez.

#7 of 16 Jason_V

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Posted April 24 2006 - 01:47 AM

If there's nothing to write home about it, might as well pass it up even though I pawned my original off about a year ago. Like Andrew said, this one is on TBS once a month--if not more.

#8 of 16 Carlo Medina

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Posted April 25 2006 - 07:16 AM

Hmm, apparently there's 5 minutes of new footage? Not that I think it needs it, but for me, who was on the fence (especially with no word on whether the crackly audio was fixed) this might get me to buy it (especially with the cheap street prices).

#9 of 16 Beau

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Posted April 25 2006 - 07:24 AM

I really liked this movie. I think of it as the original "I Love the 80's". 5 minutes of extra fottage sounds interesting, but I think I'll wait till it goes down to under $10 before picking it up.

#10 of 16 Carlo Medina

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Posted April 25 2006 - 07:30 AM

I hear ya, I'd normally wait for under $10 too, but at $12.99, I'm also an "instant gratification" sort of guy, so I'll pay the extra $3 to get it today (though I'm sure in 2-3 months it will be $9.99 or 2 for 20).

#11 of 16 Carlo Medina

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Posted April 25 2006 - 04:23 PM

Okay quick update. The extra 5 minutes is one scene with the old woman he gives singing lessons to, and IMO it is hilarious!

The video does look to be an improvement. DVD mastering has advanced enough that it isn't a surprise, though I can't tell if it's a new film master it's taken from.

The sound is also good. I did hear George Titcher (sp?) crackle once in the beginning, but I think it's because he overloaded the mic (singing "right round, round, roung"). The rest of the movie sounds very good.

Is it worth the upgrade? Up to you to decide. I found the extra 5 minutes and the improved A/V to be worth it, but I admit that I love this movie. $12.99 at Best Buy isn't bad, and I'm sure it will be cheaper in a few months.

If you haven't picked up the first DVD and liked this film, pick this up now!

Edit - despite having pretty lame extras, the trailer is funny too (I hadn't seen it yet)...

#12 of 16 Mike_G

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Posted April 26 2006 - 12:40 AM

It has Jodee Thelen in it. What's not to like? Posted Image

#13 of 16 jim.vaccaro

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Posted April 26 2006 - 12:14 PM

Wait a minute....wasn't the first release non-anamorphic? If so, that makes this one a no-brainer for an upgrade.

#14 of 16 DeanWG

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Posted April 26 2006 - 03:47 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jim.vaccaro
Wait a minute....wasn't the first release non-anamorphic? If so, that makes this one a no-brainer for an upgrade.
Nope. The first release is indeed enhanced.

#15 of 16 Nicholas Vargo

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Posted April 26 2006 - 04:35 PM

True, but this release also rectifies one omission from the original release, which was the original trailer, which is now included on this new release. I'm considering getting the new release just for that.

I admit that I'm a trailer junkie; I can't help it.
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#16 of 16 ClaytonMG

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Posted April 27 2006 - 05:44 PM

I too am a trailer junkie. Every week all my friends get together to watch movies and I always have trailers for stuff we're gonna be watching soon. Which is why all movies should have their trailers! Who's with me!!!





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