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Overall Rating

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 Eugene Novikov

"Quit busting my coconuts for a second..."
3 stars

"50 First Dates" is being pitched as a traditional "Adam Sandler movie," but it's not an Adam Sandler movie: it's a normal, potentially sweet romantic comedy with Adam Sandler elements forced on it over its dead body.

Yes, there's Rob Schneider making an ass out of himself, there's the manly Scandinavian woman, there's a trained walrus flapping around the screen, but all of that stuff is in the way of the film's clever central conceit, and even an atypically tender performance from Sandler himself. When highbrow types decry "commercialism," I tend to think of it as hooey, but here's a plum example of the bottom line hurting what could have been one of the year's biggest pleasant surprises.

The premise may remind you of a certain 2000 mindbender, but this one is told forwards and played mostly for laughs: Henry Roth (Sandler), a veterinarian at a Sea World-type theme park in Hawaii, falls for a beautiful girl who just happens to have no short term memory. She is Lucy Whitmore (Drew Barrymore), who suffered brain damage after a tragic car accident involving a cow. Now every time she goes to sleep, everything that happened after the day of the accident gets wiped from her memory, and her father (Blake Clark) and brother (Sean Astin) have established an elaborate daily ruse wherein they convince her every morning that it is the day after the crash.

Her routine involves eating breakfast at the local diner, and that is where Henry first runs into her, thinking she is just a regular girl building a castle out of waffles. Of course, when they agree to meet for breakfast the next day and she doesn't remember who she is, he is rather confused. When her family rather angrily fills him in, he decides to stage a daily chance encounter with Lucy so as to spend time with with the girl he can't forget.

The film pursues and exploits this concept with impressive perseverance. The dedication of Lucy's family to keeping her happy is both amusing and touching, while the solutions that Sandler's Harry eventually comes up with are inventive and undeniably sweet. By the end of the movie, I felt like no stone of the plot's potential was left unturned, no workable directions unexplored. I'm tempted to credit first-time screenwriter George Wing for this, rather than Adam Sandler or director Peter Segal, but the fact remains that 50 First Dates is consistently on the right track.

Unfortunately, it often gets derailed by not-so-subtle hints of things we would find in an "Adam Sandler movie," by which I mean Happy Gilmore, Mr. Deeds, The Waterboy, and the other entries in the comedian's traditional ouvre. The grating one-note characters, the baseball bat beatings, Rob Schneider, the aggressive punchlines, Rob Schneider -- all of this interferes tremendously with the film's skillful, elegant main plot. Sandler impressed last year by using Paul Thomas Anderson to break out of the mold he created for himself; why couldn't he give it another go with a script as fundamentally solid as this one?

What's even more frustrating is that Sandler, whose performances are often infuriating, makes for a compelling protagonist here. His character has no mental deficiency (see The Waterboy or Billy Madison or Little Nicky) and actually seems like a decent guy, even if he does have a habit of having one night stands and creating elaborate ruses to not have to leave his phone number. He's so good in this role that he could have converted me into a fan, which is something I didn't think could ever come close to happening. It almost did.

Drew Barrymore is a force of nature too, the best living romantic comedy lead I can think of; she's not just "cute" the way Meg Ryan is, but commands a beautiful personality to go along with her adorable looks. I always wind up with a crush on her along with the male lead. She, thankfully, bears no blame for this film's eventual failure. But what the hell was Sean "Sam Gamgee" Astin thinking?

(Review reprinted from FilmBlather.com)

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8698&reviewer=419
originally posted: 03/04/07 06:56:08
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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
2/18/04 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
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  13-Feb-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 15-Jun-2004



Directed by
  Peter Segal

Written by
  George Wing
  Lowell Ganz
  Babaloo Mandel

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

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