Cinema’s Ultimate Jerks is a celebration of the characters we love to hate in the movies we love to love. They’re not always the main villains – and sometimes they’re not even villains at all – but they’re definitely jerks. So let’s take a look at this week’s special Valentine’s Day jerk-off, and why they find themselves forever enshrined here in the hall of shame. Also, since I’m not a jerk, this is your spoiler warning for the 1998 movie, The Wedding Singer.
Set in 1985, The Wedding Singer tells the story of – you guessed it – a wedding singer named Robbie played by Adam Sandler, who befriends and later finds himself falling for a waitress called Julia, played by Drew Barrymore. Unfortunately for Robbie, Julia is already engaged to be wed to a successful equity trader named Glenn Guglia. Fortunately for Robbie, Glenn is a massive jerk. Also his surname is Guglia, and she’s called Julia, so you know, it was doomed from the start.
Glenn Guglia is the stereotypical jerk-off boyfriend that the leading lady foolishly loves, until she realises how awful he is, and that the other guy, our hero, is the one for her, at the eleventh hour. That becomes apparent mere seconds after Glenn first appears on screen, and we find ourselves questioning how Julia, as a fully functioning human being that doesn’t appear to have been lobotomised prior to the beginning of the story, is blissfully unaware of what an absolute trumpet her fiancee is. It couldn’t be any more clear. He looks like a jerk. He dresses like a jerk. He acts like a jerk. He’s a jerk. And his surname is Guglia for fucks sake. Glenn Guglia. Julia Guglia. Come on, Julia.
Glenn Guglia loves his job as an equity trader for two reasons. First, he’s good at it, and he makes a healthy living trading
junk bon ahem, high-yield bonds that keeps his wardrobe loaded with suits that look like they’re borrowed from the set of Miami Vice. Second, it means he has to work late hours sometimes, which most of us would tend to agree would be something we’d prefer to avoid, but the nefarious Mr. Guglia uses as a cover to go out to bars and gasp! cheat on his fiancee. He’s out every weekend, humping any and every young strumpet naive enough to fall for his shtick, while Drew Barrymore sits at home perusing wedding catalogues, trying to decide what flowers she wants on her big day. Gee, I hope it all works out for her.
From here the film takes a series of utterly predictable but enjoyable twists and turns, aided largely by a stellar ’80s soundtrack and a superb bit part for Steve Buscemi. Also there’s an old woman that raps The Sugarhill Gang’s ‘Rapper’s Delight’ which is pretty badass. Anyway, Robbie and Julia are confused about their silent love for each other while Glenn continues to be a ball-sack at every opportunity. At a bar, Glenn takes great delight in telling Robbie all about how he’s been sticking it to other girls on the side for years, and Julia has never found out. Later, he tries to stop Julia from singing along to ‘China Girl’ by David Bowie, which is totally unacceptable behaviour because you don’t shush Bowie. And at the end of the night, it’s Robbie that’s holding Julia’s hair back while she’s sick on her shoes, not Glenn. Hey, we’ve all been there.
Eventually, Glenn confronts Robbie having finally figured out that he’s got a crush on her, and ends up punching him right in the face. Meanwhile, Julia has decided to commit to Glenn, deciding that Robbie is not the one for her after-all following a misunderstanding, and they get on an aeroplane to Las Vegas so they can have a quickie marriage and then hit the casinos, because Glenn doesn’t want the weekend to be a total waste. On the plane, Julia asks if she can have the window seat because she’s never seen Vegas before. Glenn, ever the gentleman, respectfully declines as he doesn’t like it when the drinks cart rubs up against his elbow if he sits in the aisle. “Tell you what,” he says, “How about I let you lean over me when we fly over the strip?” My fucking hero.
Jerk-Off Quote: “Hey, asswipe, don’t go snitching to Julia about this. I know you got a little crush on her, but you gotta face the facts: she’d rather go to bed with a REAL man. Not some poor singing orphan.” – Glenn Guglia, real man. Also mocker of orphans.
Comeuppance: At the end of the movie, after a series of increasingly unlikely events, Robbie is on the same plane to Vegas as Julia and Glenn. Also Billy Idol is on the plane. Robbie sings a heartfelt song to Julia over the intercom, Julia realises he’s been the one for her all along, and when Glenn attempts to intervene he ends up in a ruck with Billy Idol and an enormous Billy Idol fan. Presumably, he gets a good beating, and spends his weekend in Vegas softening the blow with liquor and hookers. Let’s hope he caught something nasty.
Jerk-Off Rating: Worse than the music video for Van Halen’s ‘Jump’.
Tune in next week – same jerk time, same jerk channel – to find out who’s next in our celebration of cinema’s ultimate jerks.