“Sometimes I wish my wife had Goldfield Syndrome. That way she wouldn’t remember last night when I called her mother a loud, obnoxious drunk with a face like J. Edgar Hoover’s ass.” – Dr. Keats, 50 First Dates (2004).
I’m sad enough to have vaguely counted how many first dates we are shown within this film. I can guarantee you it is not more than fifty, hell it might not even be more than thirty. Regardless of that though, this film is genuinely quite bad. Bad is not a word I use that often, it’s a boring word that doesn’t add anything. But sometimes a film is just bad and nothing more. It’s so forgettable that you literally can’t use any other word than bad.
Henry (Adam Sandler) sets his heart on romanticizing Lucy (Drew Barrymore), a girl who suffers from not being able to remember anything. She believes it is the same day every day, and has done so for years. Can love change this? No, of course it can’t. But neither can the supporting cast, which includes Rob Schneider, Dan Aykroyd and Sean Austin.
I never want to expect too much from an Adam Sandler comedy merely because I know I will be let down. There’s never a good example of his comedy actually working, is there? Now you may be surprised to learn that I do in fact think he is a good actor. If he weren’t a good actor he wouldn’t be in so many films. I do genuinely enjoy him in films like Click (2006) though. But here he is, leaving what credibility he had built up in literal tatters. The general Sandler performance usually consists of uninterested awe. But take out that part and all you get is Sandler reading off lines like he’s just read the script. Who can blame him to be honest.
This is really prolific when it comes to the chemistry between the rest of the cast. I say chemistry, there really isn’t any to begin with. Rob Schneider is in this film and that should be more than enough to turn you away from this one. I swear to God the guy should just be refused any more career offers. He is to comedy what Amy Schumer is to comedy. Shit, that’s what I meant with that joke. He’s a terrible addition to the film playing possibly one of the most ethnically deaf characters I have ever seen. Still, there’s nothing wrong with that if the execution is good. Spoiler, it is not a good execution.
Really what 50 First Dates is to me is just another glitzy romance film. Filled to the brim with as much drivel as possible, it adds nothing new to the formula. The only addition really is the use of a memory loss shtick that genuinely isn’t solved throughout the entire film. Look, I’ll give credit where it is due, I did not expect that to go unsolved. The fact that she does now have to live with that loss of memory every single day of her life is quite a swerve. Funny? No, of course not. A little, tiny bit of me thinks it is funny, but for the most part it isn’t.
Cinematography for comedy movies is always either cliche or just sticking with what every other comedy does. Surprisingly this is in fact no exception to that rule. It wouldn’t be an Adam Sandler comedy if it didn’t feature a number of at the time pop songs with some establishing shots now would it. He always seems to give his characters such a weirdly obscure job. This time around he looks after a walrus and I’m not sure why this was so integral. One of the jokes is that the walrus vomited on a woman who looks like a man. No, I didn’t expect anything more from an Adam Sandler comedy.
That’s the thing that annoys me the most though. Adam Sandler can be funny when he plays his cards right. So really to see him get it so wrong it’s just a genuine shame really. The fact he has to degrade himself to jokes about a walrus vomiting on people is just upsetting if anything. It’s a fall from grace, although Sandler never had that much grace when it came down to humour. I really don’t think I’ve laughed so little at a comedy film before. Honestly I laughed more at Foodfight (2012) than I did at 50 First Dates.
Again the humour sticks to the formula that it has become very used to by now. Adam Sandler is hopelessly romantic, the woman of his dreams has some form of unique quirk, they fall in love, then out and then back in. End the film on a high note and wait for the next paycheck to arrive in the post. You can’t really knock the guy since he’s been doing it for years and it is yet to dry up just yet. Hell he’s got a deal with Netflix. He could release a film of him watching reruns of Happy Days and there is nothing you can do about it.
Basically this film is just Before I Go To Sleep (2014) but without Colin Firth trying to kill the protagonist. Also, there seems to be an actual plot to that film. 50 First Dates is a great example of why Adam Sandler shouldn’t make films anymore. Well, not anymore, just in general he makes some pretty poor films. An incoherent, borderline offensive film, similar to that of The Break-Up (2006) but nowhere near as vaguely charming. The chemistry of the cast is completely lacking and above all it’s just not an interesting film.
That being said, it does make do with what it has to offer. By that I mean this film has nothing to offer yet still drags itself through an hour and a half of scenes. Throughout this entire viewing, I smiled once. No that wasn’t a smile for when the film finally ended, that would be a cliche joke. My only smile came from seeing Adam Sandler cry, his suffering brings this film an enlightening high, merely highlighting how low a man will stoop to work with Dan Akroyd.