50 First Dates

Nobody thought it was possible, but it looks like Adam Sandler is regressing. Yes, his humor does still wallow in the toilet in his new movie, 50 First Dates, but instead of getting older it looks like he is getting even younger. The jokes are missing some of the more risque elements usually present in his films, and he doesn't play as unstable a character as he usually does. Instead, Sandler (Anger Management, The Hot Chick) is Dr. Henry Roth, a commitment-phobic veterinarian who lives on Oahu. He only dates tourists, and dumps them just before they leave. This way, he will not see the women again, and has no worries about entering into a long-term relationship. What else does this mean? A non-stop parade of cute animals (a penguin, a sea lion, dolphins) sure to please the kiddies.

This changes one day in a diner when he sees Lucy Whitmore (Drew Barrymore, Duplex, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle). They hit it off, have a great time, and makes plans for the next day. Well, when they meet again the next day, she has no idea who he is. See, Lucy was in a car accident last year, and now she has no short-term memory. She believes that it is still that same day one year ago, and to avoid any sort of trauma, her family and friends all pretend it is that same day. So Lucy lives the same day over and over, unaware that a year has passed. Henry really falls for Lucy, so he decides to make her fall in love with him again, every single day, with varying results.

Barrymore and Sandler are trying to recapture the same chemistry they had in The Wedding Singer, oh so long ago. Like all Sandler films, there is an underlying heart amidst the stupid jokes, and like his other films, it does not feel right with the film. This time, instead of Sandler making himself look like an ass (for the most part), screenwriter George Wing delegates that task to Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick, 8 Crazy Nights), who plays Henry's pothead friend Ula. Most of the supporting cast are characters designed as jokes, from Lucy's steroid abusing brother Doug (Sean Astin, The Return of the King, The Two Towers) to the androgynous Alexa (Lusia Strus, Soul Survivors, Stir of Echoes). All can be considered offensive, but 'lame' is probably more apt.

There just isn't really a point for 50 First Dates. Yeah, it has a nominally cute concept, but director Peter Segal (Anger Management, Nutty Professor II) quickly wears the concept down with Sandler's ingratiating attempts to elicit sympathy from the audience. Worst of all, there is no ending. As a leading man in a romantic comedy, Sandler is just not up to the part. He doesn't have enough charisma, and the charisma he does have is not the type for a film like this. All Barrymore has to do is look cute, and she does okay at that. One has to give Sandler credit though; he's not as annoying as he usually is; just a little more boring.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 36 minutes, Rated PG-13 for crude sexual humor and drug references.

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