It starts with those sweeping graphics in that all-too-familiar font. Then the unmistakable synthesiser beat rolls in. And then in flashes - the clothes, the colours, those dance moves, that hair! Dorothy, we’re not in 1998 anymore. And then comes... the lyrics, “If I, I get to know your name...” We have undoubtedly been transported back to the glorious 80s, and a wedding singer has led us there. Is there anything not to love about the 1998 classic ‘The Wedding Singer’? I’m struggling to think of something. It took us back to a time we could now laugh about. It produced not one, but two killer soundtracks that gave us a renewed love and appreciations of Dead or Alive’s ‘You Spin Me Round’, Spandeau Ballet’s ‘True’, Culture Club’s ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me’ and who could forget Ellen Dow’s rendition of Sugerhill Gang’s ‘Rapper's Delight’. This film and its music game was so beloved and so strong that it spawned a Broadway musical in 2006 - it wasn’t a successful musical, but it existed nonetheless.
But a movie like this, to be as successful as it was, provides more than just sick beats and a failed stage presence. It was nostalgic, funny and romantic. It introduced phrases like “Hey Linda, you’re a bitch!” and “Julia Guglia” into the lexicon - no Julia or Linda was safe after ‘The Wedding Singer’ came out! Poor Julias and Lindas. But more than anything, it gave us something that money can’t buy, something unquantifiable - on-screen chemistry. The partnership between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore may have started in 1998’s ‘The Wedding Singer’, but it’s now spanned across three decades and two more films. It’s a partnership that’s rarely seen these days, since the dissolution of the studio system of the early half of the 20th century where contracts married a performer to a studio for multi-picture or multi-year deals. It was during this time that we got Fred and Ginger, Taylor and Burton, Hepburn and Tracy, and so many more. So that got me thinking - who are the greatest onscreen partnerships of the last, let’s say, 20 years? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my totally made up, completely arguable list...
They first came together for 2012’s ‘Silver Linings Playbook’. It was a film that resulted in a Best Actress Oscar win for the then 21-year-old Lawrence after missing out two years prior for ‘Winter’s Bone’. Then Cooper, Lawrence and their ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ writer/director David O. Russell reunited in 2014 for ‘American Hustle’. This time around, the acting pair weren’t on-screen love interests, but they still shared a few choice scenes together. The following year, the long shelved ‘Serena’ hit our screens thanks to Jennifer and Bradley’s earlier successes. The film was a flop, and so it should have been. Luckily, no one saw it, and those that did were quick to forget, just in time to be excited when Russell and Lawrence collaborated once again for ‘Joy’ in 2015, giving Jennifer her fourth Oscar nomination in five years, three of them thanks to Russell, and Jen and Brad’s fourth time sharing screen space. While Jennifer was the star and titular character here, a small but memorable space was made for Bradley, and we the audience were grateful for it.
I know, I know, after ‘The Notebook’, I too wished for more Ryan and Rachel. They became off-screen lovers as well, and they had the whole R&R thing working for them. But alas, the universe had bigger and better plans and R&R (I’m pretty sure I’m the only one to call them that) were not to be. Fast forward seven years to 2011 and we get our first (and best) taste of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone together with ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’. Yes, this is the movie that gave us “It’s like your photoshopped!” and we loved every second of it. Since then we've gotten R&E (doesn’t quite have the same ring to it) again in 2013’s very average ‘Gangster Squad’ but it was just last year that saw their third (and hopefully not last) pairing in the über-hit ‘La La Land’. This is the movie that won Emma the Best Actress Oscar for playing an actress (huge stretch for her) and that also “won” the Best Picture Oscar. For those of you who don’t know why “won” in in quotation marks, I suggest you Google it now and retroactively laugh at my joke. When beautiful people come together on screen and it works, it’s marvellous. When they come together and they’re actually talented as well, it’s glorious. When they come together and start singing and start dancing... well, I didn’t much care for it, but everyone else seemed to go nuts for it. Eh, each to their own. Either way, too much Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling is never enough!
12. Count em’ - 12 times these lads have shared screen time. There are Hollywood marriages that haven’t lasted as long as these boys' working relationship. They’re played everything together from really really really ridiculously good looking people to 80s TV idols to romantic rivals. Eight of their collaborative efforts belong to three separate franchises (‘Zoolander’, ‘Night at the Museum’ and ‘Meet the Parents’) so not only do they work well together on screen, it appears that audiences can’t get enough of them either.
I know what you’re thinking - Drew and Adam... #1... really? Yes, of course really, they’re why we’re here! Haven’t you been paying attention? All the other partnerships listed in this article are great - they make us laugh, they make us cry, they make us swoon, they make us fall in love with them, but never all at the same time - that’s where Adam and Drew come in. There’s also a certain amount of perceived accessibility with these guys. All the others are too Hollywood, but Drew and Adam are like family. Plus, in ‘The Wedding Singer’ and ’50 First Dates’, there have been musical numbers courtesy of Adam. Okay, Ryan and Emma have musical numbers in their on-screen repertoire as well but again, not like this. Raise your hand if you shed a tear or twenty when Adam’s character comes into the airplane cabin singing "I want to grow old with you" in ‘The Wedding Singer’. For anyone not raising their hand, you’re a damn liar! As for the rest of you, put your hand down, this isn't a poll, it’s an article, no one can see you. Let’s be honest - it’s all about ‘The Wedding Singer’ and ’50 First Dates’, you can skip ‘Blended’, it was... not good. But it didn’t make me love them any less. Their working relationship hasn’t garnered them Oscars, multimillion dollar franchises, they haven't written anything together or directed the other, although, fingers crossed because Drew’s one and only directed film ‘Whip It’ was freaking awesome, and they haven’t fallen in love off-screen either despite my many hopes and wishes. They’re just Drew and Adam. Whenever you seen them together you don’t think, “Geez, how many movies have they been in together now?” - you think, “OMG, I love these guys together!” And they’re all about the love. Not laughs or accolades, just love.