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50 First Dates disappointing

by Mark Smith, Opinion editor

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, who first appeared together in the 1998 romantic comedy The Wedding Singer, are reunited in 50 First Dates. Save your money though, while The Wedding Singer proved to be one of Sandler’s best films, you should wait for the rental on this one.

 

The best thing about 50 First Dates is that it was filmed mainly on O‘ahu’s windward side. It tells the story of Lucy (Barrymore), a local girl who’s forced to live the same day over and over again after a car accident, one year earlier, left her with short-term memory loss. Sandler plays Henry, an oceanographer who only dates tourists, which allows him to avoid long-term commitment.

Henry’s life changes when he meets Lucy at a local diner. Hitting it off, Henry arranges to meet with Lucy for breakfast the following day, only to discover that she does not remember him the next morning. Henry is informed, by Lucy’s family and friends, about her condition, and he sets out on a series of humorous attempts to become a part of Lucy’s life.

Although Sandler and Barrymore work well together and have a strong presence on screen, it was not enough to save 50 First Dates, which is weighed down by bad dialogue, horrible acting, and local stereotypes.

The movie also stars Sean Astin as Lucy’s steroid-using brother Doug. Where his successful performance in the role of Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy helped garner that film’s accolades, Astin’s poor performance here adds to the downside of Dates.

The most controversial role in the film was that of Ula, played by Rob Schneider, a common face in many of Sandler’s films. Ula is a local man, a slacker type who smokes pot and is burdened with an unhappy marriage (to an over-weight woman named Mumu) and five rambunctious children. This isn’t the first time Hollywood has stereotyped Hawaiians in movies. The 2002 surf film Blue Crush portrayed Hawaiians as slacker beach bums who are territorial and aggressive towards mainlanders. So far, the local reaction to Schneider’s portrayal has received mixed responses.

“ It bothers me that Hawaiians are never portrayed as serious characters in film,” said one moviegoer. “For once I’d like to see a local character who isn’t on the beach or covered in tattoos.”

Despite negative reviews, 50 First Dates, which premiered on Valentine’s Day weekend, took the number-one spot in theaters two weeks in a row. The film has done well locally and has become a popular date movie. Although the dialog felt rushed, Sandler and Barrymore did good jobs.

 
 

 

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