50 First Dates
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir Peter Segal
scr George Wing
with Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Sean Astin, Rob Schneider, Dan Aykroyd, Blake Clark, Lusia Strus, Pomaika'i Brown, Amy Hill, Allen Covert, Joe Nakashima, Lynn Collins
release US 13.Feb.04, UK 9.Apr.04
04/US 1h40

Another goofy Adam Sandler song: Barrymore and Sandler.

sandler barrymore astin
schneider aykroyd
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Reuniting with the leading lady from his best film (The Wedding Singer), Adam Sandler finds a way to blend his infantile vulgarity with a charming, beguiling love story. The result is an endearing romantic comedy with moments of outrageous humour that never overwhelm the sweetness, and a light touch that never wallows in it.

Confirmed bachelor Henry Roth (Sandler) is a veterinarian at an ocean theme park in Hawaii, where he also treats visiting female tourists to rampant affairs before sending them home. So when he meets the lovely local girl Lucy (Barrymore), he knows he shouldn't get involved. But hey, she injured her temporal lobe in a car accident and can no longer make new memories--every date could be a one night stand! Then she turns out to be much smarter (and funnier) than he expects. And her protective dad (Clark) and steroid-pumped brother (Astin) aren't going to let him take advantage of her. So he works with his best pal (Schneider) to win Lucy's heart every day. And in the process, he falls for her every day as well.

The stroke of genius is keeping the gross-out humour away from Sandler, leaving it in the capable hands of Schneider's sex-obsessed stoner, Astin's pumped-up nice guy and Strus' energetic hermaphrodite, plus a few walruses and penguins. But director Segal and writer Wing are even smarter: The humour is all character-based, never gratuitous, and it actually provides a needed counterpoint to the overwhelmingly adorable romance.

Barrymore is at the peak of her considerable skills with a delightful performance that perfectly balances her goofiness and girl power. She wins our hearts immediately, and miraculously never lets her Memento-like condition become either an object of pity or the butt of a joke. Meanwhile, Sandler's Groundhog Day-like wooing of her is disarmingly genuine; Henry is a thoroughly likeable guy we can really root for. And while it lacks much subtlety it's still one of Sandler's most engaging performances. So even if the laughter isn't quite as uproarious as you expect for a Sandler comedy, the delicate love story is more than we would ever ask for. The final sequence could have been horrifically sappy, but it's directed and played to perfection. In a word: sublime.

cert 12 themes, innuendo, vulgarity, drugs 12.Feb.04

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... 50 First Dates beckostretcho81, mid-west: 5/5 "I love this movie! All of Sandler's movies are great (minus Little Nicky). And together with Drew they make such a magnetic performance. The DVD has a ton of really cool extras as well. He blended everything so well to where you can sit down and watch it with a guy and he'll enjoy it for the comedy while the girls fall in love with the romance of the story, and both will enjoy the beautiful island of Hawaii and all the awesome music! I recommend the soundtrack as well, although there is no Bob Marley. Oh yeah, and of course Sandler brings back all his usual friends to spot in the movie, and if you pay really close attention there a little refernece to some other movies as well. Such as Tommy Boy. Enjoy the show!" (21.Jun.04)
2004 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall