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Overall Rating
3.15

Awesome: 13.82%
Worth A Look32.24%
Just Average: 19.74%
Pretty Crappy: 23.68%
Sucks: 10.53%

10 reviews, 92 user ratings


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50 First Dates
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by Erik Childress

"An Unclean Slate"
2 stars

There’s a very sad romance at the heart of 50 First Dates. It keeps peeking its head through only to be smacked back down by the makers to remind people that it’s still a comedy. Only it shouldn’t be. The structure of it all will leave most Adam Sandler fans bewildered and general viewers in a state of melancholy. The laughs are few, far-between and not worthy of more than a chuckle in most cases anyway. But the menial and sparing attempts at laughter make this film an oddity beyond Punch-Drunk Love to leave audiences wondering what the attempt really was.

In it’s high-concept premise right out of Memento, Drew Barrymore plays Lucy Whitmore, who due to a car accident has developed short-term memory loss. Not every 15 minutes like Guy Pearce did, but at the start of every morning like Dana Carvey suffered in Clean Slate some 8 years ago.

Sandler’s character is an oceanic vet who has made a habit of dating visitors to the island of Hawaii. They don’t stay long and he has some guilt-free fun. This state-of-mind, quickly set-up in the opening scene, completely disappears when he lays eyes on Lucy. In one of the most bizarre Meet-Cutes in Hollywood history, Sandler’s Henry Roth shows Lucy how to build a better waffle house, a habit that Lucy makes out of her breakfast instead of eating the damn thing.

Henry’s in for a rude awakening when his lovely day is completely forgotten in the next. Despite Lucy being a local, Henry is smitten and suffers us through a lame montage of attempting to keep Lucy’s radar. This includes the exact same bit that Winona Ryder used in Mr. Deeds to get his attention. As if to jog our own memories with in-jokes, Sandler also references a character’s Happy Gilmore-like golf swing as the most ridiculous he’s ever seen and performs a subdued "hahahaha...shutup" from Billy Madison on a nosey customer.

But then there is Lucy’s family. Her dad (Blake Clark) was also involved in the accident but came away with minor injuries and her brother (Sean Astin, providing a few amusing bits) is an exercise junky who denies ever having taken steroids. They love Lucy. So much in fact that they have managed to replay the exact same day over and over for her as to spare her the shell shock of her affliction. Perhaps not the sanest decision to giving her the same newspaper every morning or repainting portions of the house, but their care for her is undeniable and quite touching.

Lucy’s condition can certainly be played for comedy, but the approach in 50 First Dates leans towards the heartbreak of dealing with such a mental illness. I kept thinking about those afflicted with Alzheimer’s and how an interesting love story can be fashioned around someone who keeps forgetting that they love. Groundhog Day dealt with similar themes and still managed to be hilarious. In another month, it will be interesting to see how Jim Carrey and Charlie Kaufmann approach it in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. 50 First Dates takes itself so seriously at times that its attempts at comedy liken one trying to propose to their girlfriend and continually having their best friend coming over to fart in their mouth.

And I’m looking at you Rob Schneider! This time he’s playing a Hawaiian local always hanging around Henry, interrupting the flow of the romance with inappropriate asides and general wackiness. You can’t do it, Rob. Not in this movie. In fact, not in any movie. And I’m not singling you out. Henry’s adrongynous foreign assistant is disturbingly unfunny and unless you’re Monty Python there’s nothing really humorous about Spam. Even in the middle of a poignant trip to a mental health center, we’re introduced to a character named Ten-Second Tom, an unfortunate soul whose name tells you all you need. Except he’s played by Sandler regular, Allen Covert, casting an unnecessary goof element over his scenes which aren’t even in the neighborhood of funny. Only Astin and Dan Aykroyd provide a few knowing guffaws.

Sandler is the wrong person for material like this. He’s incapable of producing a recognizable emotion in scenes that won’t work without one. Punch-Drunk Love was tailored for his limits and it worked beautifully. I suppose it’s a sign of growth that he doesn’t attack anyone in this movie, but certainly not of his acting.

Washing my hands clean of the failed attempt, I now want someone to go out and make the serious version of this love story. Traditionalize it all you want. Make the hero the best friend always trying to tell the girl he loves how he feels only for it to be wiped out the next morning. It could still be funny in a dark way, but have the requisite sadness that 50 First Dates keeps scraping the jar for. It admirably follows through on its premise without copping out in the end, but it only calls to attention how beautiful and sweet it could have all been. Might as well cut out the comedy anyway, cause it sure as hell wasn’t that funny to begin with. Unless vomiting walruses are your thing.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8698&reviewer=198
originally posted: 02/13/04 01:43:15
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User Comments

4/08/14 Heidi Embrey Love this movie. Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore have great chemistry together 5 stars
2/18/13 the truth a real man only needs 1 3 stars
11/18/12 Sean Harrison Not that grate but still better than anything Sandler has done recently. 3 stars
12/21/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Has some funny moments, but not enough to make up for a dumb ("cute") ending 2 stars
10/24/10 Frank Fontaine If you stop and think about it for 1 second a very depressing movie. Agressively unfunny. 1 stars
9/26/10 jennifer kimberly super funny never get tired of it 4 stars
3/05/09 Elaine i love this film so much.. i saw it with my friends.. and i fell in love with it!! 5 stars
11/27/08 Shaun Wallner Very Funny! 4 stars
7/29/08 the dork knight Adam Sandler is no longer evil. He makes good movies now 4 stars
3/02/08 SamanthaPayntr i really liked this movie! very funny. but sad at the end. 4 stars
12/14/07 Pamela White Sweet romantic comedy one to see over and over 5 stars
6/08/07 Danielle Ophelia You'll laugh, you'll puke, you'll roll your eyes, you'll lapse into a diabetic coma. 4 stars
5/11/07 MP Bartley I'm with Rob - surprisingly sweet, touching and winning despite Schneider's awful presence 4 stars
4/18/07 Stevo UK Unfunny and as deep as a thin crust pizza, this marks the beggining of the end for sandler. 3 stars
4/03/07 David Pollastrini Drew Barrymore is hot in this! 4 stars
3/30/07 fools♫gold creative, funny, probably Sandler's best, what more can convert you to watching? 5 stars
3/05/07 Robin Hudspeth Really a tragic story underlying some good comedy. 5 stars
2/01/07 Matt Silly premise, but who cares? Light fluff, enjoy it for what it is. 3 stars
12/05/06 Sharon I LOVE this movie! Great love comedy, A+! 5 stars
11/29/06 Stanley Thai A good funny film. 4 stars
7/09/06 R.W.Welch Hardly Neil Simon stuff, but has some effective scenes. 3 stars
7/07/06 NS Rob Schneider is hilarious! 4 stars
6/09/06 Wendy I love the film very much ! 4 stars
5/17/06 Roy Drew, as cute as ever 4 stars
5/01/06 Anthony Feor Barrymore and Sandler were good once, don't push it! 2 stars
4/28/06 Annie G The only Adam Sandler film I like ... in fact, I actually bought this one. 4 stars
3/06/06 Steven Lewis Adam Sandler is still just as funny in a more calm romantic comedy. 4 stars
12/19/05 kr another great Adam Sandler movie gotta love it 4 stars
12/09/05 cody a very good movie staring adam and drew in best perfomances ever, nice ending 4 stars
8/31/05 natalie love it 5 stars
7/17/05 Nicole Eh....not really my type of film, as I typically do not like Adam Sandler 2 stars
5/20/05 dwarzel Hey Drew...lisping isn't acting. 1 stars
5/11/05 Mike Better than I expected, quite funny in parts. 3 stars
4/10/05 The Talking Elbow Great Premise meets bad Rob Schneider and Sandler jokes 3 stars
2/10/05 Just Me Horrible, like every other Sandler movie. 2 stars
1/28/05 blueviolet Such a sweet love story, one of my faves 5 stars
1/26/05 Stephanie It was an awesome movie, but not the GREATEST from Drew and Adam 4 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams I thought it was cute. 4 stars
10/28/04 Georgie Porgie How sweet was Doug! lother doth the dithes 5 stars
9/27/04 silver I like how Adam Sandler carried the movie 4 stars
7/30/04 John Aster Habig it's ok but Roger Ebert has really lowered the bar 4 stars
7/23/04 Sandy Turynowicz Different,sometimes funny & sad. 4 stars
7/23/04 Jannet Kwan This movie is sort of funny. Rob Schneider stole the show! 3 stars
7/20/04 Harry J Barely an average rating. Not half as good as Happy Gilmore. 3 stars
7/17/04 legend A fairly decent date movie. Had some funny moments. 4 stars
7/08/04 Confessions Of A Teenage Trauma Queen How does the doctor know what J. Edgar Hoover's ass looked like? Apart from a few moments, 2 stars
7/05/04 James Kustes One of the worst Sandler movies 1 stars
7/05/04 michaelb14 one of Sandlers better, a funny sweet movie 4 stars
6/26/04 cinkcool Not bad. 4 stars
6/21/04 Marc Basque One of Sandler's better films...though that's not saying much. 3 stars
5/28/04 J Drew Barrymore and Sandler work great together! 4 stars
5/25/04 Sheila Evans At least Drew Scarymore is a bit less scary than when she played Helen Zass. 3 stars
4/15/04 Jeff MacIver Aside from some strange Sandler-movie moments, I *really* enjoyed this light comedy. 4 stars
4/13/04 ME AWESOME! 5 stars
4/12/04 Chris Sandler made up for "Anger Mangement" with this. Cute, funny but still Sandle = gross 4 stars
4/07/04 Valarie Funny!! 5 stars
4/04/04 David Ground Hog Day clone, but an extremely funny one 5 stars
4/04/04 Charlene Javier Worth the price of admission. 4 stars
3/28/04 Blues Singer Babe Awesome i luv the walrus and the penguin ULA ROKS! 5 stars
3/26/04 Vikki Fox very funny and entertaining 4 stars
3/25/04 Amy Adam and Drew team up once again for another unforgettable romantic comedy 4 stars
3/23/04 Reini Urban Drew was always one of favorites, and though it's not a top movie I love it. 5 stars
3/23/04 sophia 2 THUMBS UP 5 stars
3/20/04 avinash its a good date movie!! 4 stars
3/19/04 sarah nicole is going to be famous one day! f*** see her movies!nicoles beautiful! 5 stars
3/18/04 rachel burke its okay not good or bad 3 stars
3/17/04 Maria Loved the show!! A must see!! 5 stars
3/17/04 Mike Erdelyi I had a great time at the Flick It was a good time. 3 stars
3/16/04 alex funny.. at times. most adam sandler movies are funny though 3 stars
3/14/04 E-Rock A cute movie, with funny moments abound. Could do without Schneider, though... 4 stars
3/12/04 Phyllis Not as good as The Wedding Singer, but if you liked that, you'll probably like this one too 4 stars
3/07/04 Marthe Roe enjoy the movie very much 4 stars
3/05/04 Goofy Maxwell Sun-baked Sandler-Barrymore for mindless consumption?... Brilliant! 4 stars
3/01/04 Sir Spam-a-Lot Freaky, but better than expected 3 stars
2/29/04 sarah clarke excellent 5 stars
2/29/04 actionjackson2099 Rob Schnieder was hilarious but, Drew Barrymore isn't the best actress for a comedy. 3 stars
2/23/04 8=====D it was repetive and boring and sad,dull as dirt plot 2 stars
2/22/04 nancy liked it the 1st time i saw it, LOVED it the 2nd time, as it really grew on me! 4 stars
2/20/04 LEHUA IT WAS AIIGHT, HAWAII SCENES WAS SWEET 3 stars
2/18/04 Cheeseball!!! I love this movie !!! It's my all time favourite! 5 stars
2/17/04 Allie E. I thought this movie showed the sensitive and loving side of Adam Sandler. It was great. 4 stars
2/17/04 Jin This drivel is an insult to Groundhog Day. 1 stars
2/17/04 wicked_3 IT BLOWS 1 stars
2/16/04 ian TERRIBLE 1 stars
2/16/04 Henry Kay I kind of liked it. It's Sandler not Sean Penn. It entertains. 3 stars
2/16/04 Ned Rubin Execrable,exploitative sophmoric "comedy" by and about the brain damaged. 1 stars
2/16/04 T.Kittlitz Great Movie - Makes you feel good 5 stars
2/15/04 Linzo The best part of the movie was the Hawaii scenes. And that just sucks. 1 stars
2/15/04 the gourd Anyone who enjoys this type of shit needs to have their fucking head caved in with a brick. 1 stars
2/14/04 Tony this is getting some harsh reviews 4 stars
2/13/04 cd funny 5 stars
2/13/04 Todd Typical Sandler bullshit. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  13-Feb-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 15-Jun-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  25-Mar-2004


Directed by
  Peter Segal

Written by
  George Wing
  Lowell Ganz
  Babaloo Mandel

Cast
  Adam Sandler
  Drew Barrymore
  Sean Astin
  Missi Pyle
  Rob Schneider
  Dan Aykroyd



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