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50 First Dates

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: 50 First Dates

Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore
Director: Peter Segal
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 106 Minutes
Release Date: February 2004
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Sean Astin, Rob Schneider, Kent Avenido, Dan Aykroyd, Pomaika'i Brown, Blake Clark, Lynn Collins, Allen Covert, Adam Del Rio, Amy Hill

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

First, the good news. 50 FIRST DATES has a promising concept. It's a GROUNDHOG DAY comedy with a MEMENTO twist about a woman named Lucy Whitmore whose brain does a master clear every night because she once had an unfortunate car accident involving a wayward cow. Drew Barrymore is quite cute as Lucy, a woman who enjoys a first date with the same guy every day but doesn't realize it. If you've seen the trailers, you already know the few jokes in the movie that work. The best of these is one in which an outraged Lucy takes a baseball bat to someone she incorrectly thinks is trying to mug Henry Roth, her day-long boyfriend. About the only other good parts of the picture are lots and lots of lovely images of Hawaii, where the story is set. (Hawaii appears to be the location of choice lately for bad comedies. THE BIG BOUNCE was also set in our fiftieth state.)

You've probably already guessed the bad news. In another of his annoying performances, Adam Sandler stars as Henry, a homely guy with Woody Allen's ability to attract females in droves. Henry is normally a one-night stand kind of guy, since female tourists on their last night on the island want nothing more than to be able to take him to bed and then brag about their conquest once they get back home on the mainland.

If you're a Sandler fan -- and there are millions of them -- you'll probably like 50 FIRST DATES. But, if you're not a Sandler addict, you'll find the movie passable at best. Humor comes from slapstick as in one scene with a walrus projectile vomiting and another with a person of indeterminate sex (played gratingly by Lusia Strus) being slapped with a big cold fish. Laughing already?

Always awful Rob Schneider plays a native Hawaiian, stoner dude. Even worse is the wonderful Sean Astin (Sam from THE LORD OF THE RINGS) in a really embarrassing role as Lucy's brother, a steroid-abusing guy with a lisp whose is obviously gay but doesn't know it and is waiting for the right person to come onto him so he can figure it out.

As you wait for the ending to finally arrive, the only question is when and how Lucy will snap out of it and get her short-term memory back. This is the one small area in which the script excels. But it is certainly not worth the wait.

50 FIRST DATES runs 1:36. The film is rated PG-13 for "crude sexual humor and drug references" and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and up.

Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes

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