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50 FIRST DATES

Forget pretentious piffle like 21 Grams and Cold Mountain ó the only serious films addressing the questions that keep a guy up at night are comedies. A kind of cross between Groundhog Day and Thereís Something About Mary (and letís not forget that 1987 Bruce Willis classic, Blind Date) thatís set in Hawaii, Peter Segalís 50 First Dates moves from the Oedipal preoccupations of his Anger Management to those old T.S. Eliot mind teasers memory and desire.

Unlike his literary namesake, Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) is an "Arctic marine-life veterinarian" who likes to find them and forget them until he falls in love with Lucy (Drew Barrymore), a beautiful art teacher who lost her short-term memory in an accident. The events of every day vanish forever when she sleeps, and for some reason, her father and brother must re-create the events of the last day she remembers, the day before the accident, a year before.

To disguise the starsí utter lack of sexual frisson, Seger must resort to the basest extremes of tastelessness and sentimentality. An obnoxious Hawaiian beach bum (Rob Schneider) with five of the most repulsively cute children in filmdom! A gender-unspecified Slavic assistant who is vomited on by a walrus and grabs Sean Astinís ass! And a penguin who laughs at all of Sandlerís witless jokes! Moronic? Of course! But how else can one forget the inescapability of transience ó and terrible movies? (100 minutes)


Issue Date: February 20 - 26, 2004
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