50 First Dates

"OK"

50 First Dates Review


Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore have some kind of remarkable romantic-comedy alchemy together that makes him seem like a genuine catch of a lovable man-boy and makes her flightiness seem cute.

In "The Wedding Singer" they turned one of Hollywood's most insipid clichés (the guy in love must save the apparently blind and stupid girl from marrying a jerk) into a funny little charmer despite its dependence on a "remember when" gimmick of 1980s excess.

They've succeeded again in "50 First Dates," in which Sandler plays a Sea World veterinarian and commitment-phobe who habitually seduces pretty tourists into one-week flings (yeah, right!), and Barrymore stars as the girl who finally captures his heart -- a bright-eyed darling with short term memory loss, so the poor guy has to keep wooing her over and over and over.

At first the movie has trouble finding its footing, limping along on the kind of lowbrow schtick we've come to expect from Sandler (a jet-barfing walrus, Rob Schneider as an obnoxious sidekick) and later going overboard in the degree to which Barrymore's father (Blake Clark) and brother (Sean Austin) try to hide her condition so she can live the same day again and again in blissful ignorance.

But with the couple's meet-cute in a rusty, tin-roofed cafe (absentmindedly playing with her knife, she glints sunshine into his eyes), "Dates" hits its stride with Sandler wracking his brain for new and comical ways to make her fall in love with him day in, day out.

The movie is at its funniest on the days when Sandler strikes out (there aren't enough of these scenes) and at its most affable after he convinces Barrymore's over-protective family to let him try to jog her routine repeatedly in the hopes of making her remember him. While not exactly on the road to recovery, she soon becomes an accessory to her own repeated amorous ensnarement. "I don't want you to strike out tomorrow," she smiles sweetly after one particularly good day together, "so why don't you talk to me about lilies?"

Unlike in most gimmick-driven comedies, first-time writer George Wing and director Peter Segal ("Anger Management") don't ignore their character's outside lives once the plot gets into full swing (Sandler still goes to work most days) and do make an effort to give their characters some real emotional depth. Barrymore has different reactions every day to Sandler and to learning about her condition -- sometimes she's charmed, sometimes she's devastated, and sometimes she's selfless, breaking up with Sandler in the hope that he'll give up on her and get on with his regular life, and his dreams and aspirations.

For the sake of developing an aww-worthy romantic story arc, Segal eventually resorts to the narrative short-hand of montage sequences of their happier times (cue the sunset-silhouetted kisses) and abandons the more amusing bad days all together. Another problem is that it's sometimes hard to not second-guess Sander. Since Barrymore always loses her memory overnight, why doesn't he try keeping her up for 24 hours just to see what happens?

But "50 First Dates" never tries to wiggle out of its memory-loss plot, even when searching for a happy ending, and because it remains true to its characters, the movie overcomes its faults with good humor (after the tactless first act anyway) and genuinely appealing performances (it's certainly the most likable Sandler's ever been).

This may not be a romantic comedy classic, but you don't have to have memory problems to want to see it more than once.



50 First Dates

Facts and Figures

Run time: 99 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th February 2004

Box Office USA: $120.8M

Box Office Worldwide: $196.5M

Budget: $75M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures Corporation, Happy Madison Productions, Anonymous Content, Flower Films (II)

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 44%
Fresh: 77 Rotten: 97

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Henry Roth, as Lucy Whitmore, as Ula, as Doug Whitmore, as Alexa, as Dr. Keats, as Marlin Whitmore, as Sue, as Ten Second Tom, as Stacy, Pomaika'i Brown as Nick, Joe Nakashima as Old Hawaiian Man, Jonathan Loughran as Jennifer, as Security Guard, Dom Magwili as Security Guard

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.