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2 reviews, 7 user ratings

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My Date with Drew
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by Erik Childress

"Hey, How Can I Get Me One Of Those?"
4 stars

In one of my first screenplays in film school, I wrote that there’s a fine line between a stalker and a true romantic. After all, in the modern age, wouldn’t Romeo have been arrested for standing outside windows? Brian Herzlinger walks that fine line and we teeter on the edge with him throughout his attempt to score a date with his lifelong crush, Drew Barrymore. At first it seems like just another gimmicky documentary following in the footsteps of Morgan Spurlock. Then the creepy vibe sets in and we’re thinking someone should drop dime on this guy before someone gets hurt. But, as Quentin Tarantino once wrote, “personality goes a long way”, and the more time we spend with Brian the more he becomes, well, each one of us. And that’s part of the reason I seriously adore this film.

The gimmick begins where most do – with a clock. Herzlinger has given himself 30 days to get the attention of Drew and fulfill his lifelong fantasy (or maybe hope is a better term.) Why not 31? Because by then the Circuit City policy of returning items would have expired and Brian isn’t exactly on the kind of living budget that affords video cameras. So with a loyal core of friends at his side, Brian begins putting together the six degrees of separation that could lead him to the girl he thought was cute when he first saw E.T. A little creepy? Maybe, but give the guy a break. He was only six when he saw it. Although we can’t account for how hairy his palms have become since, a self-admitted problem that he’s insecure about and seeks a solution for – with waxing, not self-control.

Brian’s quest takes him from industry folk to facialists to ERIC ROBERTS, who as a good sport shows off his muscles and tells Brian he should hit the gym. Which he does (thankfully he has a lot of friends including a personal trainer) despite him getting advise to the contrary. His parents think he’s nuts with his mom proclaiming Drew “a slut” thanks to her regular regurgitation that anything the Star tabloid prints is truth. Another filmmaker says “the dumbing of America is complete” with this project. Poor John August, the screenwriter responsible for Go, Big Fish and this year’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory gets saddled with the unfortunate label of “the screenwriter of Charlie’s Angels.”

Another of Brian’s acquaintances is Alison Burnett, the (male) screenwriter who penned what we all know to be the definitive work of modern romance, Autumn In New York (which is actually far more disturbing than anything Brian ever does.) This leads to one of the film’s most unintentionally hilarious moments as Burnett describes his only meeting with Barrymore at a party, who had just been told by someone that she has “cold hands.” Burnett, who proudly admits he’s “really good with language” (as the author of Bloodfist III should be) and retorts to Drew in all his Don Juan glory – “cold hands, warm heart.” Damn, he’s smooth.

As ridiculous as all of this seems and you wonder why you should care whether this goofball succeeds, the film begins steering us towards the answers. Brian is a package of childlike enthusiasm and adulthood insecurity. Is it just more fear of growing up? Maybe. But the more we get to know Brian, the more we identify him with ourselves. An ex-girlfriend even admits she went out with him because she felt sorry for him. It’s not pity we feel though; it’s the underdog mentality that we want to embrace and because Brian appears more like a good guy, we become less apprehensive about wanting to root for him.

My Date With Drew plays like the romantic fantasy that occasionally springs forth from a writer’s keyboard. At one incredulous point when Brian hires a Drew look-a-like to prepare him for the big day (shall it ever arrive), it’s hard not to think of movies like The Sure Thing or Some Kind of Wonderful where the bird in the hand should be concentrated on instead of the dreamgirl. Unfortunately the film misses the obvious implications of Hitchcock’s Vertigo which would have provided an additional thinkpoint to the journey. Brian’s everyman qualities endear him to us as we understand his nerves about actually going over to Drew at a premiere (that they’ve faked their way into) and I fell hook, line and sinker for one of the most genuine, heartrending reaction shots when Brian is finally given a piece of good news after life threatened to just be average again.

If forms of entertainment were meant to sum up one’s life in bits and chunks, then mine might consist in part of Dawson’s Creek (for growing up a Spielberg fan with aspirations of writing & directing) and American Psycho (strictly for the music he listens to, I swear.) My Date With Drew would also have room on the shelf though,as I can certainly admit that at the age of nine, I also found myself with a crush on Miss Drew. Sometime after I saw Firestarter, I believe, which confounded my pre-pubescent crush on an unreachable star who was hot enough to set things on fire and, as E.T. discovered, was a helluva screamer. Did I lose you there? OK, but maybe if you got to know me you would realize that I’m not a freaky creep, just a nice guy with a warped sense of humor. Just like Brian Herzlinger. Congratulations, Brian! Now Drew, I really liked Charlie’s Angels (the first one, at least). I even liked Duplex. And God bless you for producing Donnie Darko. You’re way cool in my book. Call me. Or e-mail me. I’m not picky.

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originally posted: 08/05/05 14:42:57
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User Comments

2/09/07 ES Resourceful and original, a doc to watch with someone you car for 4 stars
10/06/06 Kara Very cute! 5 stars
4/21/06 Nan way to go 4 stars
8/18/05 Scott Asplund Awesome movie please see this one ! 5 stars
8/12/05 Eastwood I really enjoyed this film. It felt real; it was funny; and I appreciated Drew appearing 4 stars
8/09/05 Jessica Johnson Very funny and touching. You really find yourself rooting for Brian! 4 stars
8/09/05 eric herzlinger well worth the price of admission 5 stars
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  05-Aug-2005 (PG)
  DVD: 03-Jan-2006



Directed by
  Jon Gunn
  Brian Herzlinger
  Brett Winn

Written by

  Brian Herzlinger
  John Mann
  Lily Rains

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