FILM REVIEW ** 1/2
One Date Is Enough
Drew Barrymore Shines in ‘50 First Dates,’ Adam Sandler FartsBy Ashley Robinson
50 First Dates
Written by George Wing
Directed by Peter Segal
Starring Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, and a penguin star in the new comedy “Waterboy” -- no, wait -- “Big Daddy”? -- no, not that -- “Mr. Deeds”? Sorry it’s difficult to distinguish all of these great and distinctive films from Sandler’s latest romantic comedy, “50 First Dates.” The movie was released last weekend just in time for Valentine’s Day, but the movie offers a dose of comedy even for the non-lovers.
Marine biologist Harry Roth (Sandler) decides to trade in his womanizing ways for a chance at true love. But his love interest is Lucy Whitmore (Drew Barrymore), who suffers short term memory loss from a freak car accident involving a cow. Every morning Lucy wakes up with no memory of the previous day.
Lucy’s dad and brother (Doug Clark and Sean Astin, respectively) spend their days protecting her. Accepting Lucy’s condition as permanent and hopeless, they disapprove of Sandler’s futile attempts at a functional relationship.
However, Roth, a true player-for-life, is not so easy to dissuade. Knowing how to sweet talk the ladies, Roth concocts ridiculous schemes for a chance win Lucy’s heart every single day. Ula (Schneider) joins in on the quest as Roth’s smoked-out-fake-Hawaiian friend.
The upshot is the movie takes place in beautiful Hawaii, which is why the cafe where Lucy and Harry cross paths sells a copious amount of Spam (a popular treat in the tropical paradise). And despite the lowbrow, slapstick nature of comedy, the movie really does have some hilarious moments. One highlight is the stupid pranks performed by Jocko the Walrus.
Barrymore adds some depth to the movie with her portrayal of Lucy. Being the only actor in the film (besides Jocko, of course) with the ability to display a wide range of emotion, she basically carried the movie in the places that didn’t rely on slapstick. However, she didn’t let her acting skills prevent her from working well with Sandler. The two maintained a good on-screen chemistry, an essential for all light-hearted date movies.
Sandler’s performance is indistinguishable from all of his other films. To continue in the film world, perhaps Sandler should try and step out of his comfort zone. Although in all fairness, his particular brand of humor will make pretty much anyone laugh, even if they feel guilty immediately after. In addition, his character’s persistence in pursuing Lucy will tug at the heartstrings.
Overall, the movie is decent. Definitely not a good choice for those on the rebound or who can’t even spell “date.” The overall message that love overcomes all could induce nausea and vomiting for those not in a relationship. Don’t expect an Oscar nomination, but do expect a smile or two.