50 First Dates

By Mark Ramsey | 2004/02/15

If it’s artificial sweetener you want for Valentines day and you don’t care if it causes cancer in lab rats, look no farther than 50 First Dates.

This movie is going to be huge because of its inexplicably appealing stars, its no-competition holiday weekend timing, and the public’s desperate need to imagine a world where every girl is sweet as honey and every boy innocently high-fives sea mammals.

In a concept higher than the audience for which it’s intended, Adam Sandler courts Drew Barrymore, the girl of his dreams. Unfortunately, every time she sees him she forgets who he is, and the wooing must start over. Exactly like Marissa and Ryan on The O.C.

See, Drew had a terrible car accident on her way to affectionately get a sweet pineapple with her sweet father 50firstdates_highfive.jpgon his sickly sweet birthday. Suddenly…

BAM! A stray cow sends her wheels spinning.

Everyone survived just fine, unfortunately the pineapple was thrown from the vehicle, claimed whiplash, and is now collecting disability from a trailer park outside Toledo, where it watches Sports on its Widescreen Plasma TV with DTS-Stereo Surround Sound.

Drew lost her short term memory in the accident, which makes her luckier than anyone walking out after this movie. In the morning she’ll forget everything she did the day before like she’s Britney Spears in Vegas. And she’ll relive that day as if it had never happened.

We, meanwhile, we are condemned to watch Drew and Adam meet fifty times when zero would have been more than sufficient.

If Drew can forget the time she spends with Adam Sandler, why can’t I?

Why oh why?!!

At what point did Drew Barrymore transform from breast-baring wild child into Sandra Dee? Who knew that preteen alcoholism and a series of split-second marriages is exactly the recipe for a big-hearted, sweet-natured art teacher who’s a sucker for lilies and knows how to turn a frown 50firstdates_mountain.jpg

upside down like nobody’s business?

Every day Drew orders waffles for breakfast and constructs a high-rise out of them, which is not only socially inappropriate but also a violation of local zoning laws. Most contractors use a forklift, Drew settles for a fork.

Adam is afraid of commitment. To a relationship, that is, not to unfunny sight gags or Rob Schneider in a withering supporting role. What makes Adam so attractive to all the women at the beginning of this movie – besides his name over the title?

Adam is a veterinarian. And although he treats sick animals, the sickest thing about them is their hunger for the spotlight. For the first time in a major motion picture, Jocko the Walrus joins Robbo the Schneider. One is a highly trained physical comedian and the other was fetching coffee for David Spade on Saturday Night Live.

In one fantasy sequence, Drew finds Adam’s ball on the beach. That’s surprising because he doesn’t seem to have any balls in this movie.

As in all of Sandler’s cornball romantic comedies, the screen is resplendent with quirky supporting characters whose bizarre physical and emotional attributes sum up to “funny,” if by “funny” you mean exceedingly tiresome and excruciatingly strained.

Talk about enabling. For a year Drew’s brother and dad facilitate her dementia by violating the copyright of the local newspaper and printing up a zillion copies from accident day so she never realizes the truth. Thank God they live in a world without a newsstand, a TV, an Internet, a Radio, or pretty much any connection to any person who might know anything that happened in the last twelve months. Have you bought into the premise of this idiotic movie yet?

Once she discovers her ailment, Drew seeks an explanation from her doctor, Dan Aykroyd, who reminds Adam that Saturday Night Live is a Petri dish with a long history of cultivating unfunny movie stars.

Filling out the cast are numerous indigenous Hawaiians with no indigenous talent yet animated with so much syrupy sweetness, it’s as if they gurgled out of the TV while Lilo & Stitch was on, just for this casting call.

If you don’t have brain damage before 50 First Dates you’ll certainly be teetering on sanity’s edge by the closing frame. On the other hand, if a vomiting Walrus is your cup of tea, get in line with your brain-dead brethren.

Photos Copyright ©2004 Columbia Pictures

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