June 20, 2005

Movie Review: 50 First Dates

This weekend's movie was 50 First Dates. My synopsis contains mild spoilers, nothing you wouldn't have known from watching the previews.

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore star in a goofy romantic comedy set in Hawaii. Sandler is a veterinarian working at a Sea World type place where he cares for penguins and sea mammals; Barrymore is allegedly an art teacher but her only apparent job is to be cute (she excels at this) and eat waffles (interestingly, we never actually see her put the waffles in her mouth). Barrymore suffers from a bizarre mental condition wherein she loses all her short-term memory every time she falls asleep, not unlike a somewhat more grim movie with a similar plot device. Sandler, not knowing of this condition but awestruck by her incredible cuteness, strikes up a relationship with her. Despite the apparent difficulties involved with the project, he sticks with his pursuit of her. Since she forgets meeting him every night, each day, he must find a new way to try and earn her affections anew.

The movie starts out with a little more crude slapstick and gross-out jokes than I would have liked, and it takes longer than it should have to get through the exposition and buildup of both the major and minor characters. But once the movie reaches its heart -- a series of gags with increasingly outrageous things that Sandler attempts, with varying degrees of success, to woo Barrymore for the "first time," every day. After a while, one wonders what happened to Sandler's job at the aquarium, but this ultimately is not the point of the movie.

The walruses are very cute and although initially irritating, most of the minor characters and b-plots eventually redeem themselves and become both endearing and enjoyable. Ultimately, the movie's heart is in the right place and the absence of any real malice between a cast of characters who all fundamentally like and care for one another just barely manages to not cross over into the realm of the saccharine. Overall, a good DVD movie; I enjoyed it but I'm glad I didn't spend the money to see it in the theaters.

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