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"50 First Dates"

Directed by Peter Segal.
Written by George Wing.
Starring Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore and Sean Astin.
Release Year:  2004
Review Date:  2/12/04 


Singles Awareness Day is upon us once again, and that means sappy horseshit romantic comedies...and “50 First Dates” is the best our movie studios had to offer.

Luckily for me, my friend Tricia had a pass for a freebie tonight down in Georgetown at the K Street Theaters, so since I had no desire to see this movie otherwise, I took her up on the offer and as usual, my friend Keith Karem says it best...

“That was dogshit!”

Since Adam Sandler—star and producer of “50 First Dates”—hasn’t made a great movie in, oh, eight years (“Happy Gilmore”, still his only true classic to me), so that his current offering isn’t great is no big surprise.  However, this film tries almost nothing that his previous effort with Drew Barrymore offered, “The Wedding Singer.”  Holy fuckin’ shit, was this bad.  The main hook for the story of “50 First Dates” is the Titanic all by itself:  a woman (Barrymore) who lost her short-term memory in an accident forgets everything she knows every night when she goes to bed.  Worse, everyone in her hometown in Hawaii knows this, so everyone in the girl’s life plays in what is essentially a one-act play that repeats every morning:  they let her eat the same breakfast every day, she goes to visit her dad every day (it’s his birthday, so she makes him a birthday cake every day), she paints the ENTIRE FUCKING GARAGE at dad’s house every day, and she makes her dad and brother watch “The Sixth Sense” on videotape every single day.  Enter a walrus veterinarian (Sandler), who one day meets the girl at her breakfast and falls in love with her...and, when he learns that she has the memory problem he tries to win her over anew every morning at the cafe.

There’s more to it than that (a little more), and then it offers us that ridiculous, no-one-in-medical-history-has-ever-overcome-this-problem style ending that left me shaking my head.  The film is chock-full of those inane Sandler-style beatdowns (punches, kicks and injuries are made five times louder in his films than anyone else’s), potty jokes (made worse by the inclusion of Mr. Dogshit himself, Rob Schneider), and suspension of disbelief that even I could not overcome:  women the world over think that Sandler’s character is hot?  You want me to believe that Sandler could possibly play a veterinarian?  Short-term memory loss might just start to evaporate after a year?

I really hurt inside for Sean Astin, as the lisping, steroid-loving brother of the Barrymore character.  Wow, to have gone from one of the stars of maybe the best trilogy of all time (“The Lord of the Rings”) to starring as a guy that tries to get laughs by flexing his breast muscles had to have an effect on the psyche.  Of course, I would imagine that he wanted to get a bad movie out of his system and this was the perfect way to do it; this reminded me of when I had just left Rome, and had an amazing pasta dinner the night before I left.  The next day, when we flew into Philly International, I just decided to ruin the great taste in my mouth by ordering pizza at Sbarro.  It made perfect sense to me at the time.

Really, the worst part about all of Sandler’s efforts of late (although, even I did laugh a fair amount of “Anger Management”) is that the films just aren’t very funny.  Thankfully, I could pass part of my time during “50 First Dates” by laughing at a hilarious Asian man that hangs out at the diner on the island; he only has maybe six lines all film, but three of them are absolutely hilarious.  When he asks for a piece of paper that Sandler’s mope has been drawing on by saying

“Excuse me, could I borrow that so I can wipe my ass?”

I lost it.  Old Asian guys spouting off lines like that always get me.  Too bad the movie surrounding him was such a fucking disaster.

Rating:  Hard Vice (remember, I saw this for free!)


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09