a critiQal film review 50 First Dates (2003)

Plot: Lucy (Barrymore) was in a car accident a year ago. Because of this accident she loses her short-term memory every night when she goes to sleep. Henry (Sandler) meets Lucy one day in a restaurant and begins to fall in love with her. Now he must try to get Lucy to fall in love with him all over again every day.

Reviewed
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  • ...the odd Barrymore/Sandler team-up works again in this touching comedy.

Reid and I first saw the previews for 50 First Dates and I wanted to see it immediately, but he was very skeptical. Our local Blockbuster® was having a deal, so we decided to go and see what they had on the shelves.

When I saw 50 First Dates I immediately grabbed it (whether he liked it or not). Turns out he didn’t mind, so it became one of the three we decided on (along with Mystic River (2003) and You Got Served (2004)). So, would Reid be right and The Wedding Singer was the tops for Drew and Adam together…or was it just the beginnings of greatness for this duo?

Drew Barrymore made her character very believable in a role that could be tougher than she’s used to. Since her character has short-term memory loss, she has to convince the audience that she doesn’t remember anything from the day before, while at the same time being funny and romantic with co-star Adam. While this seems like it could be tough to do, Barrymore makes it look easy.

Sandler is also great in 50 First Dates. He plays a similar character to his Wedding Singer performance, in that he is still trying to get the girl to fall in love with him despite major obstacles (in The Wedding Singer she was getting married, here she doesn’t remember him from day to day). He always seems to do really well in the romantic comedy roles and Adam has great on-screen chemistry with Drew.

The plot was very well written for 50 First Dates. It took a tough subject of short-term memory loss and created a touching romantic comedy out of it. Unlike what one would expect, it doesn’t abuse the subject just for the sake of comedy, rather it tries to show that love can conquer any obstacle. Because it’s not trying to make fun of the subject, it stands out as one of the better romantic comedies of recent years.

It probably would’ve been easier for the writers to just poke fun at Lucy’s illness, like movies such as Shallow Hal (2001) or Stuck On You (true, these aren’t mental illnesses but these movies exploit afflictions for the sake of laughter). Instead, it works with the illness to create a much better film.

All in all this was a very well written film, with a great storyline for even the guys to enjoy (Reid enjoyed the film too). It’s at times touching and romantic, but yet has the comedic relief (mostly in the form of animals and Rob Schneider’s character) thrown in to lighten the mood occasionally.

True, some of the jokes fall flat and they tend to poke a bit too much fun at chemical dependencies (Schneider’s character is a pot head and Lucy’s brother is hooked on steroids), but overall 50 First Dates is a truly enjoyable film for everyone. If you enjoyed The Wedding Singer, you can’t miss this great film.

Hey, maybe you can even rent 50 First Dates on your first date…and hopefully the 49+ yet to come.

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