ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
50 First Dates sinks Sandler
50 First Dates
Starring: Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider
Directed by: Peter Segal
By Peter MacEwen
“HEY BABY, HOW YOU DOIN’?” Adam
Sandler tries hard to make a good first impression... again and again
Let’s face it — who doesn’t love Adam Sandler? When it comes
to comedic entertainment, he’s as reliable as your grandma’s home
That’s why audiences will flock to see 50 First Dates, but in Sandler’s
new film, they won’t see the childish star of Billy Madison and Happy
Gilmore. It’s a sad day for Sandler fans because he’s grown up.
Although 50 First Dates also stars comedic sidekick and former Saturday Night
Live co-star Schneider as well as the not-so-comedic Barrymore, the real star
is undoubtedly Jocko the Walrus. Compared to the rest of the cast, Jocko’s
performance is no less than Oscar-worthy. And with the addition of Willie the
Penguin, the animals really do steal the show.
The story follows marine veterinarian Henry Roth (Sandler), who chases the
affection of fellow Hawaiian Lucy Whitmore (Barrymore). The catch is that Henry’s
romantic exploits start anew each day because Lucy’s memory only lasts
as long as she’s awake.
Henry is extremely persistent and finds creative ways to make the relationship
work. Once again, Sandler’s boyish charm and innocent sense of humour
(ironically reminiscent of The Wedding Singer) wins over the woman he loves
but, unfortunately, not the audience.
The movie is divided into two parts: the first is slow and boring introducing
the conflict, while the second tries be romantic but really only manages to
be sad. Sensitive members of the audience may shed a tear because whether or
not it really exists, 24-hour amnesia is a very depressing illness.
The briefly sad moments from Mr. Deeds pale in comparison to the wretched
misery of this illness. No worries — Jocko the Walrus tends to reappear
at the most opportune moments and re-ignites the film’s comic element.
Isn’t it pathetic that a Sandler movie relies on a walrus for laughs?
Schneider’s pothead Hawaiian native character Ula doesn’t even
lift spirits; he is sickeningly typical.
But wait. There is more reason to see this movie other than to merely combat
a prolonged bout with happiness. Sean Astin, recognizable from Rudy and The
Lord of the Rings trilogy, has a surprisingly goofy role as Doug Whitmore,
Lucy’s juiced-up body-building brother with an inferiority complex.
Another reason to see 50 First Dates is Barrymore’s breasts. Though
there is no clear view of them, a rain-soaked white T-shirt scene is definitely
worth the cost of admission.
Audiences may not appreciate the film’s sappy plotline or below-average
performances, but there are signs of hope. There are some touching moments
and proof of some dramatic worthiness.
Bottom line, Disney could very well have produced this film, which goes to
show where Sandler’s career is headed. 50 First Dates is a true disappointment
for the audience, so here’s to hoping Sandler’s next film is as
immature as his successful ventures.