• Joe Pace

Favorite Fictional Characters, #123: Julia Sullivan


"Not porno tongue. Church tongue."

Believe it or not, there was a time in the mid-1990s when Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler appeared poised to become the Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks of a new generation, and The Wedding Singer was their magnum opus together. It never quite panned out (neither did Meg and Tom, really), but this painfully authentic cinematic visit to the 1980s is worthwhile on its own. Sandler is still funny, walking the line between crude and rude, mining the last veins of humor from his rapidly depleting stockpile. (Aside: Sandler does appear once more on this list. More on that another day.) But what sells this movie for me, other than Billy Idol's great endgame cameo and a killer soundtrack, is Barrymore's not-quite Mrs. Julia Gulia.

Julia is sweet, charming, naive, and yet there's a dignity to her sunny-side optimism. It's Barrymore at her pixie-ish best, leavening Sandler's inherent coarseness and grumbling skepticism. The beauty of Julia, however, and testament to Barrymore's skill, is the raised-eyebrow suggestiveness woven into her propriety, the merest hint of ribaldry in her classy carriage. It's that aspect of Julia's personality that lets us believe in her mutual attraction to Sandler's Robbie Hart, and lets us buy into the possibility of their happiness together.

Hey - more than a third of the way through the year. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

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