50 First Dates (DVD, 2008, Sandler Line Look)

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Don't You Remember Me, I Gave You That Hickey Ow!!!

Feb 3, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Sandler/Barrymore, Cast, Location, Direction, Script, & Some of the Soundtrack.

Cons:Some Predictable Moments & Some Uninspired 80s Covers.

The Bottom Line: "50 First Dates" is a Nice, Heartfelt Romantic-Comedy with Adam Sandler & Drew Barrymore that Hits All The Right Notes. (3.5 out of 5).



In 1998 after two commercially successful but critically-panned comedies, Adam Sandler scored a surprise hit early in that year with a sweet romantic comedy called The Wedding Singer that co-starred Drew Barrymore as his leading lady. The film that was set in the 80s was so successful, and it helped the two stars become even bigger with their own separate projects. In 2002, Sandler was at a crossroads after his hardcore, lowbrow comedy fans panned the Paul Thomas Anderson film Punch-Drunk Love despite its great reviews and Sandler's dramatic performance. While Sandler did return to lowbrow comedy with the animated Eight Crazy Nights and 2003's Anger Management with Jack Nicholson, he knew that he couldn't do lowbrow for the rest of his career. In early 2004, Sandler surprised his fans and critics once again by reuniting with Drew Barrymore for another romantic comedy in 50 First Dates.

A partnership with Sandler's Happy Madison production and Barrymore's Flower Films production, 50 First Dates is a quirky romantic comedy about a womanizer who meets the woman of his dreams in Hawaii only to learn that for every day, she doesn't remember him the day before due to a head injury where she lost her short-term memory. Directed by longtime Sandler co-hort Peter Segal, 50 First Dates marks the first time Sandler brings in a new screenwriter in George Wing who brings in a quirkiness to the script that was inspired by the classic Bill Murray comedy Groundhog Day. While it's not as good as the Murray comedy or Sandler's previous collaboration with Barrymore in The Wedding Singer, the film provides a maturity in Sandler's persona. With a cast that includes Sandler’s friends like Rob Schneider, Blake Clark, Peter Dante, and Allen Covert along with Saturday Night Live alums Maya Rudolph and Dan Aykroyd plus Lusia Strus, Amy Hill, Pomaika'i Brown, and Sean Astin. 50 First Dates is a nice romantic film that brings in a lot of laughs and heart.

For Henry Roth (Adam Sandler), he often gives women something to offer but only temporarily. Often claiming he was a secret agent, he was gay, or something else so he wouldn't stick to some form of commitment. Whenever he's not womanizing, he works as a veterinarian in a Hawaii aquarium often taking care of penguins and walruses with his German, sexually-androgynous assistant Alexa (Lusia Strus). Sometimes, he hangs out with his one-eyed Hawaiian assistant and pot-smoker Ula (Rob Schneider) and his many kids. Henry meanwhile, is making plans for an extensive trip to explore walruses on the north Pacific as he takes his boat on a test trip where it falls apart. After docking somewhere in Hawaiian islands, he stops at a restaurant where he sees a beautiful young woman named Lucy (Drew Barrymore) sitting on the table alone making waffle houses.

The next day, Henry decides to stop at the restaurant again where he introduces himself to Lucy as the two get into a conversation. After telling Ula about meeting Lucy during a game of golf, he wonders if she is the woman of his dreams. After turning a down a chance to flirt with a woman (Missi Pyle) one night, Henry decides to go after Lucy again but the only problem is that she doesn't remember. The restaurant owner Sue (Amy Hill) tells Henry that Lucy lost her short-term memory at an accident over a year ago where she couldn't retain any new information as she keeps on thinking it's the same day over and over again. With Sue not wanting Henry to meet Lucy again, he makes a bet with the restaurant's cook Nick (Pomaika'i Brown) to see if he can get Lucy to eat breakfast with her. After a third and pathetic attempt in getting Lucy to eat breakfast with him, he succeeds but only to get in trouble as Sue contacts Lucy's protective father Marlin (Blake Clark) and her older bodybuilding, lisping brother Doug (Sean Astin).

Henry meets her father and brother as he is forced to stay away from her at the restaurant. Henry doesn't give up on Lucy as he decides to keep meeting her on roadways to the restaurant where he uses his little penguin friend and at one point, Ula to help where Ula pretends to beat him up only to get destroyed with a bat by Lucy. Marlin and Doug learn what Henry's been doing as they noticed that whenever Lucy meets him, she would be singing the Beach Boys' "Wouldn’t It Be Nice" while she's painting. Henry learns of Marlin's ordeal as he tries to protect Lucy by having a birthday party every day and watching The Sixth Sense every time while planting a special paper to pretend it's the same day over and over again.

One day at the restaurant, Henry attempts to eat breakfast with Lucy only as she gets a parking ticket where she learned that it wasn't the day that she read in the paper earlier. She learns of her accident as she asks her father to meet her doctor as Henry wants to know more. Marlin, Doug, Henry, and Lucy meet Dr. Keats who tells Lucy that her condition is permanent and it could've been worse if she had the same condition as Ten-Second Tom (Allen Covert) whose memory is wiped every ten seconds. Henry knows winning her heart wouldn’t be easy so he takes Lucy's diary and her photos of the accident to make a videotape for her. For the first time, she doesn't do her daily routine of going to the restaurant, painting, and celebrating her dad’s birthday as she meets an old friend Stacy (Maya Rudolph) and sees what is going on with Henry recording and shooting everything. Every day, Henry does everything to win Lucy's heart as he succeeds but with his boat rebuilt and his walrus trip still in the works, Lucy wonders if she’s getting him away from his plans.

While the writing in this film is more superior to The Wedding Singer or any of Sandler's previous comedies, the film doesn't have the fun wacky charm that The Wedding Singer had but does have more heart thanks to George Wing's script. While its idea may not be original and does have some predictable ideas plus retaining some of the lowbrow antics in the first 20 minutes. 50 First Date does succeed in its script and Peter Segal's direction that gives balance to the film as a comedy with heart and warmth. With help from cinematographer Jack N. Green who helps give the film an attractive, exquisite look along with production designer Alan Au and art director Domenic Silversti. The movie looks wonderful in its location settings with Hawaii as an inspiring choice while the film's pacing is comforting for its tone thanks to editor Jeff Gourson.

While The Wedding Singer has a soundtrack filled with a lot of 80s music, 50 First Dates does do the same thing but not as successful by having acts cover songs from the 80s as opposed to using the original. While some original cuts by 311 including a wonderful cover of the Cure's "Love Song" was a great choice along with Ziggy Marley's cover of the Cars' "Drive", UB40's cover of the Police's "Every Breath You Take", and Seal's cover of Echo & the Bunnymen's "Lips Like Sugar" are inspiring for its island feel. Other covers for songs by the Cure and other 80s act fall short. Still the choices do give the movie something different as opposed to The Wedding Singer.

While many of Adam Sandler's films have some great casting choices, 50 First Dates casting is more inspiring. While cohorts like Peter Dante and Allen Covert does make funny cameos along with appearances from Maya Rudolph and Missi Pyle. The film does leave for other characters to shine whether it's the old man in the restaurant played by Joe Nakashima and Lusia Strus as the androgynous and funny Alexa. Rob Schneider is always a joy to see in his appearances at Sandler films as he brings in some laughs at the right time along with Dan Aykroyd who plays a more serious role though he does bring in some funny one-liners. Pomaika'i Brown is memorable and funny as Nick, the restaurant cook while Amy Hill was an inspiring choice as the maternal restaurant owner who cares for Lucy. Sandler regular Blake Clark shows more of his dramatic chops in a subdued, whimsical manner as Barrymore's father. The film's best supporting performance and funniest goes to the versatile Sean Astin as the steroid-abusing, lisping older brother Doug with every line of dialogue filled with laughs along with flexes as the famed actor of Lord of the Rings continues to shine.

Then there's the always wonderful pairing of Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler. The chemistry that they had in The Wedding Singer is still there and in a more mature, thoughtful way. While Barrymore had the more complex role, she brings in a performance filled with wit and heartbreak as she brings in a very mature performance. Adam Sandler also brings a performance that is one of his best as a man who grows up and tries to do right for himself and for Barrymore. Gone is the anger that we always known from Sandler for something with more heart and care. Barrymore and Sandler are a great comedic pair and throughout the whole film, we root for them to be together and we love watching them on the screen.

While it's Adam Sandler's best and most inspiring film since Big Daddy (if you don't count Punch-Drunk Love), 50 First Dates is a wonderfully inspiring romantic comedy from Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Though not as funny as The Wedding Singer, it's still filled with heartfelt and touching moments while bringing a nice dose of laughs. With nice supporting work from Rob Schneider, Blake Clark, Amy Hill, Dan Aykroyd, and Sean Astin, the movie is wonderful in every moment. With a nice direction from Peter Segal and a complex script from George Wing, there's probably some hope that Sandler will continue to mature and find ways to bring his lowbrow comedic style while develop as a great actor. 50 First Dates is a nice movie to pick up and watch with someone you love.

Punch-Drunk Love (2002):

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