Monday, September 9, 2013

Happy B'day, Adam Sandler: "50 First Dates"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 24 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

50 First Dates (2004)
Running time:  99 minutes (1 hour, 39 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for appeal for crude sexual humor and drug references
DIRECTOR:  Peter Segal
WRITER:  George Wing
PRODUCERS:  Jack Giarraputo, Steve Golin, Nancy Juvonen
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Jack Green (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Jeff Gourson
COMPOSER:  Teddy Castellucci

COMEDY/ROMANCE

Starring:  Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Rob Schneider, Sean Astin, Lusia Strus, Dan Aykroyd, Amy Hill, Blake Clark, Nephi Pomaikai Brown, and Allen Covert

The subject of this movie review is 50 First Dates, a 2004 romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.  The film focuses on a man, who is afraid of commitment, and the girl of his dreams, who has short-term memory loss and wakes up every morning not remembering who he is.

The reunion of The Wedding Singer co-stars Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore sounds like a great idea, which it is, but even better than a great idea is when the movie reunion turns out to be such a charming and hilarious romantic comedy.  Although I initially had some misgivings about it, 50 First Dates is not only flat out hilarious, it’s also a very good romantic comedy.  50 First Dates' faults are few or are minor, but it definitely felt too long.

Lothario Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) is a serial dater, loving and leaving a legion of women and assorted lovers in the wake of whirlwind, weekend romances.  He finally believes he’s find that special lady when he experiences love at first sight.  However, Lucy Whitmore (Drew Barrymore), the object of his affection, suffers from short-term memory loss (like the protagonist in Memento) as the result of a car accident a year earlier.  Every day she awakens with no memory of anything she’s learned in the time since her accident.  After gaining the grudging approval of Lucy’s father, Marlin (Blake Clark), and brother, Doug (Sean Astin), Henry concocts a plan to remind Lucy of his love for her as the first thing she discovers when she awakens each morning, but for how long will she go along with the plan?

Director Peter Segal helmed Sandler’s 2003 smash, Anger Management, which is a harder belly laugh film.  Here, Segal smartly focuses on the leads to create and sustain the star-crossed romance, and he makes the best and most appropriate use of the supporting characters.  He lets the comic relief provide silly laughs and the more “mature” characters make just enough intensity to create what little dramatic conflict and tension 50 First Dates needs.  George Wing’s script is an exercise in sustaining laughs long enough to keep the audience chuckling and not looking behind the curtain to see the credibility gaffes until the film is over and they’ve reached the parking.

For all his detractors, Sandler is truly a talented comedian, and he has become a very accomplished comic actor.  His deadpan, sarcastic, neo-slob characters are endearing and charming, and the only viewers who truly dislike simply just want to dislike him.  Drew Barrymore is quite attractive, and, in spite of her beauty, she has an everyman, make that every woman quality, which endears her characters to the audience.  Sandler and Ms. Barrymore make a winning screen pair, and hopefully they won’t wait too long before giving us another fine film.

7 of 10
B+

Updated:  Monday, September 09, 2013

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