Wookiee Hut Movie Reviews presents:
50 First Dates
Review by Diana, MaceVindaloo, VagBoy

Director: Peter Segal

Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Blake Clark, Rob Schneider, Sean Astin, Lusia Strus

Rating: Victory Star Destroyer (packs a wallop!)

Some movies should be viewed with someone else, especially movies that are "date movies" or you end up feeling it's lame or sad because you're watching it alone ... and there's no one to discuss it with or laugh or even sputter because it sucked. Or quote lines to. One of us had watched this "romantic comedy" alone and thought it was stupid, but the other thought it was great, so we gave it another go, but together.

Synopsis: Lothario Henry Roth is a specialist in the short-term relationship. He lives in Hawaii and enjoys showing beautiful tourists a good time, whether for a week, a few days, or a night. The best part is after all the fun and vigorous sex, they go home and it's over. Henry makes sure they can't find him again, and that's how he likes it till he meets Lucy, a local girl, who never seems to remember him the next day no matter how great a date they had the day before.

The story is improbable but it works because it deals with love as a basic emotion and the desire to be with someone special, no matter what your outlook on life before you met that person. The love is also the love of family, of friends who will look after you in tragedy, and the friends who are nuts and reliable. These are the friends that one is lucky to be blessed with in the course of one's life, and if you find someone you have to spend your life with then you are really lucky.

Adam Sandler movies usually involve the family love of grandma or father, and there are elements of that in this one, too. He includes plenty of references to other flicks — kids with the same run-up golf swing as Happy Gilmour, for instance. A "memory clinic" for a fabricated syndrome is funded by an automotive tychoon name Callahan, a reference to Akroyd's movie, Tommy Boy. And there seems to be the element of "let's justify a big party with all my friends in Hawaii by making a movie." Sandler enjoys casting his friends in his films, and it's rather fun to recognize one actor from another Sandler effort and see what part they are playing this time. These include his assistant (who plays a gender-reassigned fellow), SNL alum (Dan Akroyd), and Rob Schneider in a servant/lacky role (that's different ... not!).

Schneider's role is bigger this time and somewhat different from his usual foreign-born delivery boy part. He plays Hawaiian handiman and janitor type Ula, and his depiction of a repressed, horny, hen-pecked father of five bright kids really carries the film, in that his ridiculousness makes Sandler's ridiculous plotlines rather believable in context. In a stilted Islandesque accent, he is Roth's devil alter ego who lives vicariously through Roth's sexual exploits. He's really hilarious in this film, enough to maybe justify a "Ula" mini-movie (it would likely be called, Sharks: They Only Attack When You Touch Their Private Parts).

Sean Astin appears at Douglas Whitmore, Lucy's brother, and he's really funny here. He will be forever strapped with his famous Hobbit role; in an outtake, Blake Clark flubs a line and hollers at "the Hobbit." Still, despite the weird lisp and ongoing juvenile "noctural emissions" jokes, Astin came across as a concerned and loving meathead brother who is willing to put his life's ambitions on hold (such as they are) to care for his sister. Blake Clark usually gets smaller but significant roles in Sandler films (Jimmy the demon in Little Nicky or the gibberish spouting assistant coach in Waterboy), but this time, he is Lucy's grizzled, widowed father. It's a serious role, no gibberish, and he does a great job. We should all be so lucky to have a family who may be clueless, but loves us enough to endure what they do every day for Lucy's sake.

Drew Barrymore plays Lucy Whitmore, and convincingly forgets and falls in love with Sandler regularly and frequently. I know she's an actress, but falling in love with the same guy over and over while the crews film you repeatedly must get weird ... have to find a new way to do it every time. In other movies, though you may have to do several takes of a falling-in-love scene, it's only one scene with any given guy. She makes it seem fresh every time she sees him again in a different context. (Another odd thing ... Barrymore must not like her legs. They're never exposed in this film.)

The music is rather evocative. They don't resort to Hawaiian slide guitar at any point, thank goodness, but they seem to use a lot of music inspired by John Denver's Calypso, originally written about Jacques Cousteau's research boat. Some calypso rhythms, it's all very light and cheerful. Sandler does sing in this one: a love song on a ukelele!

By the way, what's with the pineapple ... didn't one show up in Little Nicky, too?

Person #1 admitted that with Person #2 present to watch the movie with, the lines were much funnier and the sappy parts were less sappy and instead were backdrops for more comedy and beautiful scenery, so see this film with someone else. Whether you like this sort of stuff or hate it, seeing it with someone else lets you guffaw out loud or hiss out loud, whether the person is a date or not.

It's a light film, likeable, and not TOO many gross things are there ... even the walrus spewing on the Central-Europeanish Alexa was funny. And speaking of walruses, the film features one who is well-trained and acts, along with dolphins and other walruses. And a penguin named Willy. Something for everyone, eh? It won't get any Oscar nominations, but it's a solid, fun movie, and that's WAY better the being Oscar material (considering what crap is being awarded the statuette ... but we're not bitter ...)



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