|Criticwatch - The Not-So-Perfect Date Movie
|by Erik Childress
"The next person to call a movie "the perfect date movie" must punch themselves in the face, stomach, crotch and both eyes until they fall down and agree to never did it again." I wrote that early in 2013 when the latest attempt to sell such a thing to prospective couples aroused my ire like most things involving junky junket press. Surely such a thing does exist. Say Anything back in the day certainly qualifies. Maybe a more sprawling epic like Love Actually covers all the bases necessary to get guys off of home plate. A perfect date movie to critics should be as recognizable as porno to Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart. You know it when you see it. So why is it so difficult to attach the phrase to the right movies? Oh right, because it is a phrase terminally used by the average quote whore and the latest example is as questionable as ever.
Mark S. Allen, the 2008 Quote Whore of the Year who is as soul-challenged as it gets when it comes to film criticism, is plastered all over the ads for the Cameron Diaz/Jason Segel "comedy" Sex Tape. The odd leap from title to quote is bizarre enough to have anyone write the rest of this paragraph. For those unfamiliar with the plot of this Bad Teacher reunion, it involves a married couple with kids who have finally realized they are not having sex like rabbits as they once did during their college and childless days. To spice things up they decide to film themselves doing all manners of positions from the Joy of Sex on Segel's iPad which gets synched up to any number of other Apple devices they have given to friends and family causing them a great deal of embarrassment and forthcoming misadventures.
Now that you know the plot, maybe the leap from "sex tape" to "date movie" is not so far-fetched. Maybe Mark is being cheeky in suggesting that one look at this film will inspire any number of women to show up unannounced in roller skates and panties and give their partner a Boogie Night to remember. If the movie ended a half-hour in after the successful recording of their lovemaking then maybe such an idea would resonate. It would certainly give moviegoers another hour to do something better with their time. Except it doesn't since the whole purpose of the film is to make the couple jump through hoops to save not only face but also their jobs and potential scarring of their children. It is meant to be a cautionary tale that ends with a righteous barbequing rather than the creation of a reality show like the actual (attention) whores Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian.
Is Allen hoping to get a cadre of submissions for his Reelz Channel show or just his own personal collection? What is the motivation behind such a loosely-fitted breakdown of a comedy whose ultimate message hits with such a titanic thud in a porno office that it is far more embarrassing than anything on that mp4. This is not the first go-round for Allen with such a recommendation either. In fact it is his sixth.
"The best date movie of the season!" (He's Just Not That Into You - 2009)
"The best date movie of the summer!" (Sex and the City - 2008)
"Fun and Hysterical! Zack and Miri is the best date movie of the season." (Zack and Miri Make a Porno - 2008)
"The perfect date movie. Smart, funny and refreshing!" (Trust the Man - 2005)
"Funny, sexy & smart, the perfect summer date movie." (Alex and Emma - 2003)
Are we starting to get Mark's idea of the perfect date? A third of his "perfect date" labeling involves the central couple filming themselves making the love. The only difference is that Zack and Miri were part of a legitimately funny movie. Consider the other films on his list though.
Alex and Emma
Luke Wilson is a writer who we see as a character in his own novel who manifests his real-world stenographer as a collection of nannies.
Sex and the City
In the film you have Miranda being cheated on, Samantha considering cheating on her mate and Carrie having her wedding day ruined by the Big (dick) who gets cold feet.
He's Just Not That Into You
Trust the Man
David Duchovny and Julianne Moore star as a couple with kids considering giving into "extramarital temptations" according to the film's Wikipedia page and he actually does so by bedding down a divorced mom from his kid's school. But FIRST, wait for it, he watches pornography.
Yes, all really inspiring tales of love that you want to be dragging a first date to. Either party could have just looked at Rotten Tomatoes to see that Mark S. Allen was not someone to be taking any kind of dating advice from. Unless they were fortunate to go to Zack & Miri, the "perfect date" would have walked into a 50% rating for Sex and the City, 40% for He's Just Not That Into You, a dismal 27% for Trust the Man or an abominable 11% for Alex and Emma assuring it would have been their last. Allen, one of the current leaders to become 2014's Whore of the Year, is not the only culprit in this regard. Look at the long list of "perfect date" recommendations by the studio lapdogs over the past decade.
"Letters is the perfect date movie." (Letters To Juliet) - Maria Salas
"The perfect date movie for the holidays." (P.S. I Love You) - Jim Ferguson
"This summer's perfect date movie." (Must Love Dogs) - Jimmy Carter, NBC-TV Nashville
"The perfect date movie" (Twilight) - Kevin Steincross
"The perfect date movie." (Warm Bodies) - Kevin McCarthy
"The perfect date movie." (Winter's Tale) - Jeffrey Lyons
"The perfect date movie." (The Back-Up Plan) - Jami Philbrick
"The perfect date movie." (Valentine's Day) - Brandy Williams, TV Guide Network
"The perfect date movie." (No Reservations) - Bonnie Laufer
"The perfect date movie." (Life As We Know It) - Bonnie Laufer-Krebs
"The perfect date movie!" (Something New) - In Touch Weekly
"The perfect date movie. Kate Hudson has never been better!" (Something Borrowed]/b]) - Joel Amos
"Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey are a total joy together. They’re the new Hepburn and Tracy. The PERFECT DATE MOVIE." (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) - Jeffrey K. Howard
"The perfect date movie. Drew Barrymore is absolutely enchanting. The best romantic comedy since 50 First Dates!" - (Fever Pitch) - Earl Dittman
"An instant date-night classic." (Dear John) - Earl Dittman
"The perfect Valentine's Day date movie!" (The Vow) - Jim Ferguson
"The perfect date movie. It's Dear John meets The Vow." (The Lucky One) - Maria Salas
It is actually miraculous that not one of those quotes included the words "since The Notebook" since it seems to be the go-to for every half-assed Nicholas Sparks adaptation that infects theaters. With the exception of Warm Bodies (which is about a girl falling in love with a dead guy) is there any film on that list that you want to cozy up with ever again let alone use as the catalyst to a relationship worth pursuing? Try renting Winter's Tale and see what happens. The Back-Up Plan, which by the way is written by the same Kate Angelo responsible for the not-completely cleansed first draft of Sex Tape, is about a woman who gets artificially inseminated and does not tell the man she begins screwing. And how can Twilight be the perfect date film knowing that you're dating a woman who likes Twilight?
Not everyone believes Sex Tape is "the perfect date movie." Some believe it to be "the funniest movie of the year." Not just the summer, but the entire year. When we say "some", we really just mean quote whore du jour Shawn Edwards and the word "believe" should not be taken at face value either.
Has 2014 been a great year for comedy? Ask the fans of The Lego Movie and The Grand Budapest Hotel, the two highest-rated wide releases of the year at 96% & 92%, respectively. Not comedies by traditional standards? How about any of these?
They are ranked from 73-88% (left-to-right) at Rotten Tomatoes. On the flipside of the spectrum you have these six films ranked from 18-34% (right-to-left)
What do those six films have in common? They all received more positive reviews than Sex Tape. How anyone can possibly like Tammy is beyond comprehension, but there you have it. Shawn Edwards even got blurbed on two of them saying Think Like a Man Too was "twice as sexy, twice as sharp, twice as funny" as the original and that Ride Along's Kevin Hart was "officially the funniest man on the planet" in a poll we are all still trying to track down.
The only comedies in wide release this year that have scored a lower percentage than Sex Tape's (current) 17% are Moms' Night Out (14%), Blended (12%) and A Haunted House 2 (7%). Feel free to throw Dinesh D'Souza's America (9%) on that list if you feel like debating a group of loons. As percentages go, Jerry Seinfeld once said that 95% of the population was undateable and that the only way people were getting together were through alcohol. Maybe the same is true for the quote whores who are wined and dined by the studios to get their certification of perfection attached to the worst of their product line. One would actually have to be drunk to take dating or movie advice from guys like Mark S. Allen and Shawn Edwards in the first place.
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originally posted: 07/19/14 06:53:47
last updated: 07/19/14 06:58:17