Alice Jones: Why I love a happy ending
Friday 16 January 2009
There is nothing, nothing, on earth that makes me happier than a spot of heavily choreographed silliness at the cinema.
Meryl Streep leading an epic "Dancing Queen" on the pier in Mamma Mia!; Cameron Diaz wigging out to "Baby Got Back" in Charlie's Angels 2; Abigail Breslin's adorably creepy "Super Freak" in Little Miss Sunshine and now, Dev Patel's Bollywood homage in Slumdog Millionaire.
The dance routine is, for me, the watermark of truly excellent feel-good cinema. It encapsulates the awareness that your emotions are being ruthlessly manipulated mingled with the sensation of being powerless to resist. This feeling doesn't always have to come in choreographed form, though. In the last year, I have marched stony-faced into the Ritzy after a long week's work only to emerge, two hours later, into the grimy streets of Brixton with a daft grin plastered across my face thanks to the teenage kicks of Juno, the sunny heroine of Happy-Go-Lucky, the wackily beautiful stunts of Man on Wire, and even a pair of loved-up robots in WALL-E. At home, the only DVDs I own are fail-safe smile-inducers: Four Weddings and a Funeral, Desperately Seeking Susan and The Apartment.
I wish I could say that my favourite feel-good movie was one of these acknowledged classics. It's not. It's The Wedding Singer, a film which gorges on every feel-good ingredient going – the 1980s, retro pop, lots of dancing, a rapping granny and more weddings than one could possibly want. Adam Sandler, as the embittered troubadour Robbie who turns to drink and melancholy melodies has never been funnier. And Drew Barrymore, with her cute-as-a-button 1980s wardrobe, has never been sweeter.
And then there's the ending when Robbie bursts on to the aeroplane to prevent Julia and Glenn's wedding by singing "Grow Old With You". Add in Billy Idol and Steve Buscemi singing Spandau Ballet's "True", and the daft grin is cemented in place. Every single time.
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