Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore star together for the first time since The Wedding Singer in one of the funniest romantic comedies in years.
Henry Roth (Sandler) lives an enviable life in a Hawaiian paradise, spending every night with a beautiful tourist in search if an island fling. It’s a sweet life with no strings attached…until he meets Lucy (Barrymore). He and Lucy hit it off from the get-go, but the next day she acts like she doesn’t know him. Has his karma come around to kick him in the butt or what? Actually, Lucy has short-term memory loss, so every night all memory of her day is erased. But a man in love will go to any lengths to win over the girl of his dreams, and if that means having to find imaginative ways of doing it over again every day, then Henry’s up for the challenge.
Rob Schneider (Big Daddy) and Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) co-star in 50 First Dates, which will win you over every time you watch it!
50 First Dates 6.5
I have long given up on Adam Sandler. At some point in the ’90s, I watched all his films in short succession to get a sense of what everyone was talking about. I didn’t get it. I saw the humour, but I really didn’t find it funny.
The one I liked the most was ‘Bulletproof’ because it relied far less on the so-called “humour”, being an action flick/buddy movie. It wasn’t a great film at all, but at least it wasn’t a big dark hole with a shovelful of D.O.A. jokes dumped in.
So I’ve watched a couple more of his films. And, surprisingly, I rather enjoyed ‘Punch-Drunk Love’. In fact, I’m a HUGE fan of the film. But, it must be said that it’s not really a Sandler film, even though he’s in it – it’s actually a Paul Thomas Anderson film.
And then there’s ’50 First Dates’.
I wasn’t a fan of ‘The Wedding Singer’, and I don’t like the two leads that much, so a re-pairing meant absolutely nothing to me when it was announced. If I recall correctly, the only reason I picked up ’50 First Dates’ was because someone I trust told me it was actually decent. And since I found it for peanuts, I figured, “Well, heck… why not?”.
Alas, it’s yet another Adam Sandler film:
-the writing is flavourless and completely middle-of-the-road (presumably for wider appeal)
-the acting ranges from just okay to truly atrocious, pretty much across the board. Drew, and Blake Clark (who plays her father), were the only ones of any worth. Sandler was horrible, as per usual – a complete non-actor.
-Sandler’s character is completely unbelievable. For one, there’s no way that he’s a ladies’ man. No way. Secondly, his conversion to being a sensitive, bonded individual remained unexplained. All of it had to be taken for granted – you couldn’t see or feel it. So it didn’t make for a very relatable or compelling lead.
-the humour was childish and paint-by-numbers. Bland, bland, bland. I remained in neutral throughout and barely chuckled.
Let’s face it: when the highlights of your film are a small penguin, a walrus and Drew Barrymore, you know you’re running on fumes. It might be enough for some people, but certainly not for me. Barrymore is cute as a button and truly lovely, but she doesn’t draw me in. And, while the animals were better performers than their human counterparts, there’s really not much to say about them.
It’s a real shame that this film is so darned vacuous, because the concept is pure gold. It could have been such a magical, moving, romantic film, but it was done in such a pedestrian way that even the most touching moments were rendered utterly lifeless. As I was watching it unfold limply before my eyes, I couldn’t help but imagine what this could have been: it really would have floored me.
Still, ’50 First Dates’ remains one of the better Adam Sandler films, in my opinion – at least it has a great idea behind it. Oh, and a huge plus is that I wasn’t in agony while watching it (unlike ‘Happy Gilmore’ or ‘Airheads’). But I can’t imagine ever watching this again. Why would I? One date with ’50 First Dates’ was plenty for me.
Post scriptum: in case anyone cares, ’50 First Dates’ is a bit of a misnomer. It likely just a randomly-picked number, because they don’t actually go on 50 dates. So… why 50? Why not 37? 112? 68?