Rarely have the puerile and the scientifically inaccurate coalesced in such a caustic vehicle as the latest from Adam Sandler, 50 First Dates .
Adam, as commitment-phobic veterinarian Henry Roth, spends the better part of his time commenting on the phallic endowments of sea mammals and seeking advice from Ula, (Rob Schneider), whose brown-face and accent are enough to raise the eyebrows of more than a few native Hawaiians. One morning, Henry meets Lucy, (Drew Barrymore), at an out-of-the-way café where she's deeply engaged in building houses out of waffles. He somehow charms her into agreeing to have breakfast with him the next day, but when the date arrives, she's mysteriously forgotten who he is. (This is the part where all of the love-struck fourteen year old girls, bodies awash in hormones and brains straining to seem cultured, turn to their friend and say “Ohmi god , Tiffany, this movie has, like, the best premise ever!”)
Apparently, Lucy was involved in an accident a few years before which, while cracking her skull open and rendering her incapable of forming short-term memories, managed to leave her pristinely cute and scar-free. Unlike the more believable Memento or Ellen Degeneres's character in Finding Nemo , Lucy's memory lasts a full day, though her memories are erased while she sleeps, leaving her believing every morning to be the day of her accident. Her father, (Dan Akroyd), and brother, (Sean Astin, in a what-was-he-thinking role as a ‘roided-up, lisping weightlifter) have been playing along, faithfully reenacting the day as it would have happened sans accident; in one of the only decent scenes in the film, the brother amazingly predicts the outcome of a sports game they've been watching every day for years. Obviously, this presents a problem for Henry, forcing him to make her fall in love with him all over again every morning, hence the title. Luckily for the viewers, there are probably more like 9 or 10 dates, but 9 or 10 is still about 8 too many. The idea that anyone, never mind anyone as dense and childish as Henry, would devote their life to fostering a relationship with someone who consistently doesn't remember them is irritatingly implausible at best. (However, both characters are so moronically inane that, were Lucy's brain functioning normally one could understand how a relationship between them would work.)
This movie throws far too many bathroom jokes at the viewer to be considered cute or endearing, and conversely is far too sappily sweet to succeed as a typical Sandler offering. The characters are stereotypical to the point of being unwatchable, and in some cases just plain offensive; the dated and painful portrayals of homosexuals would be enough to get the creators of this film lynched were it not for the across-the-board acceptance Adam Sandler garners. The “science” Lucy's condition is based on strikes the viewer as improbable and shoddily explained – for a good dose of quality memory problems, watch Christopher Nolan's brilliantly executed Memento .
50 First Dates is what would happen had a giant grizzly bear-banana slug hybrid eaten Groundhog Day, Memento, and all of Drew and Adam's nonexistent chemistry from The Wedding Singer, then taken a big shit somewhere in direct sunlight, where the product was left to fester and accrue a collection of small, maggoty insects for about 5 days.
1 star out of 5 stars, awarded entirely on the intrinsic merit of Rob Schnieder getting the shit beat out of him with a baseball bat.
Reviewed by Emily Eaton