Plot – Henry Roth is a man afraid of commitment until he meets the beautiful Lucy. They hit it off and Henry thinks he’s finally found the girl of his dreams until discovering she has short-term memory loss and forgets him the next day – 50 First Dates.
Director – Peter Segal
Released – 2004
The first thing to say about 50 First Dates is this could have been a truly first-rate romantic comedy. Lucy (Barrymore) cannot make new memories after suffering a brain, but this doesn’t put of Henry (Sandler) who has found himself falling in love with her. Sure, the plot is probably nonsense from a medical point of view, but comedy gold if got right, think a more romantic version of Groundhog Day sadly, however, the movie ended up being just okay.
The basic premise is good, and the repeat dates work well. Credit where credit is due, Sandler plays his part well, it’s clear he is taking more seriously than his recent performances, except for Uncut Gems that is. But here lies the problem. This is still an Adam Sandler movie, complete with all the typical Sandler-style humour. A juvenile buffoonery that that had gone stale long before this point. This was most noticeable with the supporting cast. The film is littered with more comic-relief characters than necessary, worst of all is Lucy’s brother Doug (Sean Astin) a steroid-abuser constantly making foolish remarks and used at the butt of cheap jokes. Whereas I feel the role would have been entirely far more effective had the character been a more serious, stable and responsible sibling, helping to protect Lucy’s, while also showing the strain that her injury had on her family. Additionally, there was Ten Second Tom (Allen Covert) a character who can only make memories for ten seconds. Not only do the jokes not land, but appear somewhat offensive to people with disabilities. Then you have Ula (Rob Schneider.) A truly grating character, who serves next to no purpose, except to seemingly give Saddlers friend Schneider a job.
In the end, 50 First Dates leaves you with a feeling of, what if?. The idea for the movie is solid, and if its makers had treated as more of a serious romantic comedy like Never Been Kissed, it could have been much more memorable and enjoyable. Drew Barrymore was outstanding as Lucy, hitting all the comedic and emotional beats required of her. But as soon as Adam Sandler became involved, it became just another middle-of-the-road infantile Sandler/Schneider movie that you have no appetite to revisit any time soon.
If you liked – Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Good Luck Chuck, Murder Mystery