the review site with a difference since 1999
Reviews Interviews Articles Apps About

Columbia TriStar Home Video presents

50 First Dates (2004)

Lucy: I hardly know you.
Marlin: Actually sweetie, you're kind of dating him.
Henry: Yeah. Sorry I'm not better looking.- Drew Barrymore, Blake Clark, Adam Sandler

Stars: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore
Other Stars: Sean Astin, Rob Schneider, Blake Clark, Dan Aykroyd
Director: Peter Segal

Manufacturer: DVDL
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude sexual humor, drug references
Run Time: 01h:38m:14s
Release Date: 2004-06-15
Genre: romantic comedy

Buy from Amazon

Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ AAA- B

 

DVD Review

The first time I saw 50 First Dates was, of all the places in the world, on the Las Vegas strip during a rainstorm shortly after losing a large sum of money to numerous blackjack dealers and greedy slot machines. I was not having the best day and the idea of watching a movie while waiting for the rain to pass was a good way to avoid losing more. After this sweet-natured and charming romantic comedy, I felt terrific again.

Henry Roth (Sandler) is a marine veterinarian in a lush Haywain paradise and while he is not tending to the creatures at a Sea World-like tourist attraction, he likes to date tourists because there are no strings attached. This is perfect life is the best for the commitment-phobic Henry, until he finds himself at a beach-side café where Lucy (Barrymore) is eating her breakfast—Henry is immediately smitten. The only problem is that Lucy has short-term memory loss after an accident on her father's birthday; she cannot retain any new memories, her slate is wiped clean each and every night while she sleeps. From this point on, Henry must convince Lucy to fall in love with him every day while also gaining the acceptance of her father (Clarke) and brother (Astin).

There are some flaws in the editing, as the second act feels less kinetic than the first and last, but there's such an easy going air that you'll find yourself wrapped up in the sweet-natured characters that the problems are easily forgivable. The viewer is never asked to take things too seriously, but there are moments where the subject matter and its endless possibilities are brought to the foreground. Director Peter Segal wisely includes a few key sequences, including one in which Sandler ponders what will happen when Lucy wakes up and suddenly sees that she has turned fifty overnight.

The film offers several elements that will seem reminiscent of Groundhog Day, which dealt with the repeating of a single day over and over for its protagonist, but 50 First Dates lacks the cynicism that the Harold Ramis film offered. In this case, the lack of a "key ingredient" is an enormous positive, because in its unabashed sweetness is its greatest asset. Segal wisely uses the beauty of Hawaii to its full advantage, while also offering enough genuine emotional resonance to make the viewer forget about some of the plot holes that daunt the script by George Wing.

This role represents a kinder and gentler Adam Sandler, one who has left behind the angered screams and low-brow humor in favor of an average guy who simply wants the girl of his dreams fall in love with him. It turns out to be a welcome change for Sandler, who not only shares terrific chemistry with the equally charming Barrymore, but also with the rest of the cast. Sean Astin and Rob Schneider provide much of the humor and some truly memorable scenes. One small possibly throwaway role is made memorable by Lusia Strus in the role of Alexa. Strus was at one point involved in the Chicago ensemble Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind and is a gifted talent. The role of Alexa could have been instantly forgettable, but Strus expands the character and does a terrific job.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer for 50 First Dates is nothing short of stunning. The colors of the islands of Hawaii are reproduced beautifully here with no bleeding at any point. Sharpness and detail are also done nicely, giving the transfer a very film-like appearance. There is no evidence of edge enhancement to be seen; the print used for the transfer is as clean as they come.

Image Transfer Grade: A
 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
English, Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is largely anchored in the center channel with the surround and front speakers getting only a fraction of the overall activity. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout with no distortion to speak of while the left and right speakers do a nice job of reproducing the endless stream of 1980s cover tunes that litter the soundtrack. The surround speakers are put to good use on occasion including the ambient sounds of waves crashing and assorted music.

Audio Transfer Grade: A- 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
5 Deleted Scenes
2 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by actress Drew Barrymore, director Peter Segal
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Amber and Love Song music videos by 311, and Hold Me Now by Wayne Wonder
Extras Review: 50 First Dates boasts a handful of entertaining special features led by a fun and engaging commentary track by Peter Segal and Drew Barrymore. The track is light and carefree, with Barrymore discussing her favorite moments and how much she enjoys working with Sandler while Segal talks at length about his choices in directing the film and how the script was changed from the original draft to the finished film.

There are three featurettes including The Dating Scene, which is a standard look at the making of the film using interviews with cast and crew who discuss their experiences on the set. Talkin' Pidgin is an interesting five-minute look at the dialect found on the islands of Hawaii. Comedy Central's Reel Comedy is a 20-minute long look at the film hosted by the Rob Schneider character, Ula, featuring interviews with Barrymore, Sandler, and Astin.

A brief collection of Outtakes are not really very funny. Along the same level of quality is a five-minute collection of deleted scenes that would have added little; many are simply extensions or throwaway moments.

A trio of music videos are offered including two by the terrific band 311. One is their cover of Cure's Love Song, the other a live performance of Amber. There's also Hold Me Now, performed by Wayne Wonder.

The film's theatrical trailer is here as well as filmographies.

Extras Grade: B
 

Final Comments

It is likely that many anti-Sandler fans will instantly write off 50 First Dates, but those who pass up a chance to view the film are missing out on one of the best romantic comedies in years. It has a place reserved on my year-end top ten as well as among some of my favorite comedies ever made. Highly Recommended.

Kevin Clemons 2004-06-13