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Movie: 50 First Dates

Our Rating: 2.00

Any hopes that the reteaming of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore would lead to another "Wedding Singer" are dashed mere minutes into this tropical stumble, when a walrus vomits all over an Eastern European androgyne. So much for your big Valentine's-weekend make-out movie. If that's not nauseating enough, there are persistent appearances by Sandler's very own Mini-Me, Rob Schneider, who plays a Hawaiian misogynist with a foul mouth and a glass eye (or two). Where "Singer" had playful angst and skinny-tie nostalgia, Dates has sophomoric locker-room humor and a "Groundhog Day"-cum-"Memento" plot in which Barrymore's character, Lucy (it rhymes with "juicy," as Sandler helpfully points out) is afflicted with short-term memory loss that has her living the same day over and over. Every moment with Sandler's Henry Roth is thus a gift of romantic newness, though the wee-wee jokes and obnoxious senior citizens that follow the actor around like buzzards had us wishing we could relive the day we called his pre-"Punch-Drunk Love" work underrated. A golfing interlude ably demonstrates how little ground has been gained since the era of "Happy Gilmore," but the movie's fatal mistake is to temper its tomfoolery with stretches of intended pathos that force you to confront the story's basic illogic instead of letting it slide. Meanwhile, Sean Astin's supporting role as a lisping bodybuilder could have been awfully funny in a Coen Brothers flick, which this most assuredly is not.


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