Fifty First Dates
Imagine having to win over the girl of your dreams... every friggin day.
Running Time: 99 minutes
UK Certificate: 12a
Country: United States
The vast majority of todays romantic comedies tend to be instantly forgettable. So its perhaps a little ironic that 50 First Dates, a rom-com set around the logistical problems of short-term memory loss, turns out to be one of the few that might just stick in your head for more than the standard couple of days.
In a nice piece of casting, it reunites Adam Sandler with Drew Barrymore, the pair having first made a surprisingly likable couple in the 80s-tastic chortler The Wedding Singer. Theres a charming, underplayed chemistry between the two, and it proves to be just as much of a winner this time round.
The movies second success is the story itself. Henry (Sandler) is a Hawaii-based marine biologist with big commitment problems, until he bumps into Barrymores waffle-sculpting Lucy in a local diner. The pair hit it off and arrange to meet the next day, but theres a mucho problemo: as a result of a car accident suffered a year ago, she cant remember a thing from one day to the next including any lunch dates she might happen to have made.
Despite the misleading title, theres more to this than simply watching Sandlers repeated first-time wooing of his newfound love, and its actually got a pretty decent plotline to carry us through. Of course its heavily-influenced by the likes of Memento and Groundhog Day, but it has a humour, charm and goal of its own to prevent it from straying into rip-off territory.
If it has any real fault, its that its not particularly funny. Sandler leaves out his trademark yelling and, though his distinctive sense of humour is still on show, its very much a mellowed down version we get to see here. Its not that thats a bad thing (its actually a bit of a relief not to have to reach for the Aspirin tablets afterwards) its just that there seems to be little else here to replace his usual noisy gross-out shtick with.
It's Got: A vomiting walrus.
It Needs: To include a scene where the ever-nauseating Rob Schneider is involved in some sort of horrendously painful accident.
The most pleasantly-surprising film of 2004 so far.