Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas (1994) — The end of an era

“Have you two gentlemen ever wondered about the exciting world of male escorts?”

Justin’s rating: Time out!

Justin’s review: So here’s an odd confession: Saved by the Bell was my most-hated show that I watched on a regular basis. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I only showed up because of the country-wide mandate that every teen boy have a crush on Tiffani Amber Thiessen. I won’t deny that. But there was another reason, too.

You see, our parents had a rule that on Saturday morning, we could watch all the cartoons we wanted until they were done — then no more TV for the day. And while other channels switched over to other programming in the late morning, NBC kept the party going for another half-hour with Saved by the Bell. So it was a choice between watching a TV show that I hated or not watching TV at all.

I sucked it up and watched, of course. I found it the most cringy show with bad acting, lame “jokes” that deserve to be labeled with quotation marks, and, you know, Screech. But once I was off to college — about the same time that Zack, Slater, Kelly, Screech, Jesse, and Lisa did with Saved by the Bell: The College Years — I dropped this show like a hot potato and never looked back.

Hey, what do you know, it’s me looking back!

Yes, I decided to plunge myself back into the tacky, smarmy world of these Bayside High School graduates to watch the movie — i.e., the finale of The College Years. That was the single-season appendage wherein the franchise ran out of gas and slowly drifted over into the ditch of obscurity. I guess they figured that with their number up, the show might as well end with the nuptials of Zack (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and Kelly (Thiessen). In Las Vegas, no less.

This comes about because Zack’s parents are less-than-thrilled that he’s getting married at 19 and still in the middle of college (I don’t blame them), so they refuse to come to his wedding or offer finances. There’s no word about Kelly’s family. Let’s hand-wave away that plot hole and move on.

After wacky road trip hijinks (corrupt sheriffs! car trouble!), the crew arrives in Las Vegas for more tame exploits that serve to fill up an hour before Kelly and Zack tie the knot. Lisa and Slater both fall in love while poor Screech continues to act in a way that will ensure lifelong celibacy. The boys become so desperate for wedding finances that they dabble in the realm of male escorting. NBC’s standards and practices obviously was napping that day.

There are also mobsters, Gilbert Gottfried, and a diamond — but I don’t care about any of this so I’m not going to explain it to you. If the curiosity is driving you wild, you’ll just have to see this on your own.

During all of the events of this movie — except for the very, very end — Jesse is conspicuously absent. This is because, funny enough, Elizabeth Berkley was filming the Las Vegas-based Showgirls at the time. Coincidentally, the boys dress up like showgirls for the final confrontation. I like to think that these two movies exist in the same universe.

Another welcome change is the elimination of the super-cheesy laugh track that saturated the series. I did kind of miss Zack using his magical “time out” powers that he’d only use to talk to us for a while. I guess they really did grow up.

This is the kind of movie where the characters splash around in a pool while some sitcomy song plays and they say, “This is the most fun we’ve ever had!” I’m glad someone had fun with this movie. I just wish it was me.

Didja notice?

  • Really cool kids play paintball with backwards caps and no face masks
  • Does Slater own any shirts with sleeves?
  • Arguing about Van Damme vs. Segal is hilarious in retrospect
  • 1994 car phones!
  • So much sax on the soundtrack
  • Calling people “yuppies” and “hippies” was the height of 1994 insults
  • Screech making faces during his mug shots was mildly amusing
  • The cop is West Wing’s Toby (Richard Schiff) — “Do you know ‘shut up?'” is a brilliant line reading
  • Sheriffs don’t mind throwing speeders in the same jail cells with alleged murderers
  • Manipedi montage!
  • Golfing montage!
  • Water basketball montage!
  • Gilbert Gottfried alert
  • Flashback scene montage!

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