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50 First Dates
2004 - PG-13 - 92 Mins.
Director: Peter Segal
Producer: Daniel Lupi, Steve Golin, Larry Kennar
Written By: George Wing
Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Sean Astin, Rob Schneider, Amy Hill
Review by: Joe Rickey

Didn't I work with Papa Penguin on Billy Madison?
In '50 First Dates,' a fun-loving aquatic veterinarian who is afraid of commitment experiences love at first sight (literally). Too bad the girl he falls in love with won’t remember him the next day because she suffers from short-term memory loss. He makes it his goal to make her fall in love with him anew every single day.

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore last appeared together in 'The Wedding Singer,' back in 1998. That film was a wholly endearing romantic comedy and easily one of Sandler’s best films. The reason: instead of playing what can only be termed a man-child (i.e. 'Anger Management,' 'Billy Madison,' 'Happy Gilmore,' and 'The Waterboy') he played a genuinely sweet and good-natured man who had his fair share of flaws but wasn’t overly angry at the world as a result of those flaws. Of course, that film would not have been successful if the two stars did not have chemistry (If you want to see a film with two actors who don’t have a shred of on-screen chemistry, I point you in the direction of 'Gigli,' the critically reviled Ben Affleck-Jennifer Lopez film). Watching 'The Wedding Singer' it was very obvious that Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore “clicked” together. Now they have reunited in '50 First Dates,' a film in which their chemistry together is present but the material they are given isn’t quite up to par when compared to 'The Wedding Singer.'

'50 First Dates' is directed by Peter Segal, who, after this and 'Anger Management,' one might wonder if he will end up directing every two out of three Adam Sandler films. This film has one thing in common with Management in that the beginning of '50 First Dates' is unfunny, almost to the point of grating on your nerves sloppiness. Introduced during the first ten minutes include a person you are never made very clear whether he/she is a man or a woman, a local (An altogether annoying Rob Schneider) who loves sharks despite being attacked by one, and, to top it all off, there is a scene involving a walrus vomiting all over someone and the person professing “This is why I got into this field (veterinarian).”

Thankfully, once Sandler meets Barrymore for the first time the film improves dramatically. In fact, the film as a whole works much better when it aims to be a sweet-natured romance as opposed to a gross-out comedy not unlike your typical Sandler film. The romantic portions of the film are aided greatly by the fact that the two leads are able to rekindle their chemistry from 'The Wedding Singer.' In the presence of Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler tones down his normal tendency to overact and act in all manners infantile and comes across as, well, a normal guy. His costar is as bubbly and as good-natured as ever, effective in portraying her character’s clueless nature toward her illness, as no one ever bothered to tell her of her problem. Her father and brother (A nearly unrecognizable Sean Astin, taking a big step down in quality of roles after the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy) instead go through a tiring ritual to make certain that she remains in the dark about her disorder.

In the end, '50 First Dates' is recommended viewing, if only to witness the great chemistry between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.

Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

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