50 First Dates (2004)

50 first dates IMDb

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore are a match made in comedy heaven. After The Wedding Singer (which we disappointingly won’t be watching for some time) it was only natural that these two would be paired as romantic leads again. 50 First Dates may not be as good as Wedding Singer, but I still love it.

I know a lot of people find this movie to be really sad, and truthfully, it is when you really think about it. This is the story of a woman whose memory resets each night when she falls asleep, causing her to relive the day before the car accident that caused her brain damage. Her life is permanently on hold, and even when she meets someone who is willing help her get her life back her life still isn’t that great. She has to fall in love with her husband all over again every day, but what about those days when she can’t bring herself to do so? How frightening must it have been for her to wake up eight months pregnant? What happens when she looks in the mirror and thinks she’s aged 20 years overnight?

For some reason I actually like this movie better because of the bittersweet element. It makes it seem more real, despite the fact that the condition Drew Barrymore’s character suffers from is completely fictional. There’s just something nice about Adam Sandler wanting to win her affections every day, knowing that he’ll have to start all over come the morning. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone treated their relationships like this? It would be nice knowing that the person you were with never took that love for granted, and vice versa.

The only thing keeping me from liking this more than The Wedding Singer is that it resorts to gross out humor too often. What made Wedding Singer so unique is that it was an Adam Sandler movie that didn’t feel like a typical Adam Sandler movie. It was worlds away from Billy Madison or Happy Gilmore, featuring a (slightly) more mature Sandler in a role where it was actually believable that he’d get the girl. He and Barrymore still have excellent chemistry here, so why do we need to see a walrus projectile vomit on someone? It’s just so necessary and out of step with the genuinely funny sweetness that should easily carry this film.

As I write this I am painfully aware that the latest Sandler/Barrymore match up, Blended, has floundered at the box office. I was so looking forward to seeing these two together again, but I doubt I can bring myself to watch50 First Dates was an imperfect follow up to a nearly perfect romantic comedy, but it was still immensely enjoyable. Blended just looks forced. Still, I’m holding out for one more film starring these two. Just make it good, you guys.

Rating: B+

During the mid to late 90s, Adam Sandler struck box off gold more often than not with films like Big Daddy or Happy Gilmore. One of his greatest successes was The Wedding Singer, his brilliant chemistry with Drew Barrymore and the awesomely retro 80s setting made it one of Sandler’s better films. It was only a matter of time before someone decided to pair Sandler with Drew Barrymore again to make use of their terrific report with each other.

That film is 50 First Dates. Sandler plays the womanising Henry Roth. He lives in Hawaii and seduces women who are holidaying there at his job as a vet at one of the local animal parks. One day while out for breakfast, he meets Lucy (Barrymore), they hit it off and organise to meet up at the same restaurant again tomorrow. When Henry turns up for their date, Lucy has no idea who he is. Turns out Lucy suffers from short term memory loss suffered from a car accident and doesn’t remember anything that happened from the day before. Her family have been setting things up so that she relives the same day over and over again. Henry decides he really likes Lucy and wants to be involved in her life. Even if that means playing along with this charade of making her relive the same day over and over again. Each day, Henry must convince her that they are in a relationship and have feelings for each other, even though Lucy remembers none of it. Along with Lucy’s dad (Blake Clark) and her wannabe bodybuilder brother (Sean Astin), they must help Lucy get through each day, while trying to remind her about their lives together.

This film has its moments. I enjoyed Rob Schneider’s performance as Sandler’s nutty friend. He was quite amusing. Sandler and Barrymore still have terrific chemistry, but the story is not as solid as Wedding Singer. It is never really explained why Sandler goes from a womaniser to wanting to be in a long term relationship. It is like he flipped a switch and just decided his life of bedding desperate tourists was over. I’m pretty sure Sandler just wanted a montage of scenes where he is making out with a bunch of chicks. This might explain why he casts women like Brooklyn Decker or Jessica Biel in his current films (both are way out of his league). I also never understood why Lucy’s father wants to keep repeating the same day over and over again for her. Is this a medical thing? Would the shock of finding out she had just lived a day and totally forgot everything about it be too much for her? It is not properly explained in the film. It just seems like they do a lot of hard work, for not much reward.

50 First Dates is an average film, if you want to see Sandler and Barrymore at their best, stick to The Wedding Singer.

Rating: C-

One thought on “50 First Dates (2004)

  1. Pingback: Happy Gilmore (1996) | From The Abyss to Zoolander

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