J.D. Lafrance
50 First Dates DVD Review

50 First Dates

December 29, 2004

Director: Peter Segal,
Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Rob Schneider, Sean Astin, Lusia Strus, Dan Aykroyd, Amy Hill, Allen Covert, Blake Clark, Maya Rudolph, Pomaika'i Brown, Joe Nakashima, Peter Dante, Dom Magwili, Jonathan Loughran, ,

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DVD Review

J.D. Lafrance

Once again Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler are thrown together for a laugh-a-minute romantic comedy, and after the on-screen chemistry of ‘The Wedding Singer’, dollar signs must have been rolling and kerching noises must have been kerching-ing all throughout Columbia/Tri-star.

The only problem is that Sandler hasn’t been funny since 1998.

He has become stale, dull and boring and audiences are sick of him being forced onto our screens. Barrymore on the other hand has proved she is capable of so much more. Her formidable performances in ‘Charlie’s Angels’ and ‘Donnie Darko’ verified her worth and playing a sweet innocent in this sappy love tale seems beneath her. Mix the obviously flailing chemistry with a script that reeks of ‘Groundhog Day’ and you get yourself a film struggling to remain mediocre.

Sandler is Marine Veterinarian, Henry Roth, whose pastimes include hanging out with a penguin, a walrus, local Hawaiian hick Ula (Rob Schneider) and womanising. That is until he meets, and falls in love, with Lucy Whitmore; a sweet girl living with a damaged temporal lobe, which has caused her to lose her short term memory and therefore she wakes up every day unable to create new memories. Henry takes it upon himself to use his comedic charms to romance her and strives through every day with the hope to meet, greet and possibly get that first kiss.

Reunited with ‘Anger Management’ director Peter Segal, Sandler plays the same old Sandler, but Segal has learnt and developed. He uses the Hawaiian backdrop beautifully, and mixed with some amazing lighting it makes for some very emotionally driven scenes. The addition of ‘No Doubt’ and ‘Beach Boys’ on the soundtrack together with the sandy beaches and clear oceans create some stunning footage. At times, it’s like we’re watching a holiday programme but that still cannot detract from the blandness of the lead performances. The supporting cast are doing their best as a crutch but even cameos from Dan Aykroyd and Sean Astin, in his first performance since ‘The Lord of the Rings’ as Lucy’s steroid munching, spandex wearing elder brother can only just hold the film afloat. And if you’ve seen Schneider in a silly wig and doing a silly voice once, you’ve seen it a thousand times. Astin musters the most laughs, but his only real competition is the Penguin and the Walrus, who even fail to bring that ‘cute animal’ factor.

’50 First Dates’ is very much for an audience that doesn’t want a thought-provoking masterpiece of imagery. It has a very relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, which suits the location, but it’s so laid-back it’s almost as if they forgot they were making a film.

Special Features

The extras do bring some life to this DVD and it’s mainly from the blooper reel, which is way funnier than the actual film. Also there’s a surprisingly interesting featurette looking at Hawaiian slang, you’ll probably be surprised by how much of it you know.

The other featurettes are your standard look behind the scene type stuff that is quite boring and uneventful except for one segment when Sean Astin show us a home movie he shot, as the audition for the role as big brother. We are treated to an excellent commentary from Drew Barrymore and director Peter Segal. They have an amazing repertoire, which is entertainingly whimsical, and they are quite forthcoming with their experiences from the entire process of making the film that makes it both entertaining and interesting.

Bizarrely the highlight of the extras and the whole disc is the trailer for ‘Groundhog Day’ – the same trailer that ran in 1993, which makes the absence of a ’50 First Dates’ trailer glaringly apparent.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance


Rating: 62%



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