Synopsis: There are Dreamers and there are Believers…and then there are those like Brian Herzlinger, the Dream-Believers. Since the second grade, Brian has had a crush on Drew Barrymore and now 20 years later he wants to fulfill his dream by asking her on a date. It starts with only two friends, a camera (that has to be returned to Circuit City in 30 days) and $1,100. There’s one little problem though: Brian’s just an average guy in L.A. – an aspiring filmmaker with no money. He has only one month and knows his chances are slim, but driven by the words of Drew Barrymore herself*, nothing will stop him, not even his mom.
“If you don’t take risks, you’ll have wasted your soul.” — Drew Barrymore
As someone who browses second-hand shops and CD/DVD stores a lot, I’ve come across ‘My Date With Drew’ countless times. At first, I had no idea what it was, and swiftly ignored it – seeing as I’m not much of a Drew Barrymore fan. But, with time (and over-exposure to it), I became curious; it didn’t look like a regular movie… so what was it? That’s when I discovered that it was a documentary.
Intrigued, it was now on my radar. If barely.
Over the years, I had also dismissed the Drew Barrymore vehicles ‘Music and Lyrics’ as well as ’50 First Dates’; I figured that they were simply simple (if not simple-minded) romantic comedies, nothing more. However, for reasons that remain unexplained, the passage of time (and likely some really sweet deals ) broke down my defences and I ended up getting both. Which, in turn, influenced me into getting this documentary.
I’m really glad that I bothered: ‘My Date With Drew’ is the sweet story of a goofy Average Joe (à la Will Ferrell meets Steve Guttenberg) who, for lack of any other commitments or aspirations, decides to take on the challenge of getting a date with Drew Barrymore – and filming his adventures in the process. Financed by a 1100$ prize that he won on a game show, armed with a camera he only has for 30 days, and backed by two of his closest friends, he began his journey.
Already I was impressed by the incredible support network that the guy had; his friends basically devoted a whole month to his quest, and there’s no indication that they had time for anything else – like jobs. It was also amazing that he and his friends had so many contacts, or knew people who knew people; they would just make calls and attempt to connect the dots (there are a number of cameos from stars, crew and other industry people – watch for Andy Dick, Corey Feldman and Eric Roberts, for instance!)
The things Herzlinger was able to get done impressed me, ’cause I can’t even fathom coming close to his achievements. For instance, there’s a scene when they forge VIP passes to the ‘Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle’ after-party, and the way they got someone to make them and then were able to get last minute changes made blew my mind. I wouldn’t even know who to ask, and I would never find that type of devotion from anyone. Wow.
His single-minded focus might be what swayed people; he was really taking this to heart. In fact, it was astounding to see just how personally he was taking every little development, as though set-backs would be reflections of his value as a human being. Then again, I suppose that we all feel extremely vulnerable when we’re trying to get dates, job interviews, …etc. Anyway, it was a treat to be privy to that private side of him.
I wondered about his frequent worries about cash flow, because he appeared to constantly be spending money on the side; it wasn’t clear to me what other money he had and where it was coming from, seeing as he was unemployed and claimed to be broke. He got a 100$ cash injection from his parents at one point, without which he complained that he wouldn’t be able to eat. And yet he was driving around in a nice car all the time. It would have been nice to understand details like this more.
Because, without such information filling out the picture, there were times when I was left incredulous about this being a real documentary. Sometimes it seemed too good to be true, or too far-fetched, to me. And with the number of scripted ‘reality’ shows out there, it’s hard to ignore this possibility. Still, by the time we got to the end, I wanted to believe it and mostly gave in.
Whether it’s true or not, it was still interesting from a purely psychological and sociological perspective; I found Herzlinger’s behaviour and his interactions an engrossing watch. My favourite part, aside from the ending, was the practice date that he made with a Drew look-a-like. We didn’t see much of it, but I loved seeing him get ready for his date and then analysing his ‘performance’ later with his friends.
Did he meet Drew, after all? Watch it and find out. Some people have complained that ‘My Date With Drew’ is too gimmicky. Well, whether one finds that it is or not, I think that it’s nonetheless fun, and is certainly worth a measly 90 minutes of one’s time.