"The story of a guy who really likes Drew Barrymore-even after Full Throttle"
Armed with only $1100 won on a game show, a video camera that needed to be returned to Circuit City in 30 days to take advantage of the money-back guarantee and plenty of moxie, aspiring filmmaker Brian Herzlinger decided to make a documentary with his friends in which he would attempt to achieve his life’s dream–a date with the girl he has had a crush on since they were both six years old. The one hitch–the girl in question is Drew Barrymore and the closest he has ever come to her was a chance meeting at the premiere of “Charlie’s Angels” where he proved too shy to even approach her. His attempts form the center of the sly and funny new documentary “My Date With Drew.”Making things even more difficult for Herzlinger is that neither he nor any of his friends have any direct way of being able to contact Barrymore–the only sure point of contact that they have is the “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” premiere that occurs three days before the scheduled end of the project. Not wanting to rely solely on that, especially considering what happened at the premiere of the first film, Herzlinger is forced to take a six-degrees-of-separation approach to contacting her: he tries to find people who might know people who might know people who might have some vague contact with her. These contacts lead us down some decidedly strange paths. He encounters a celebrity facialist and a cousin of Barrymore’s who, it turns out, has never actually met her. Herzlinger’s ex-girlfriend turns up as well–she learns about the plan and is none too thrilled. His parents wonder why he doesn’t just go after a “normal” girl instead of someone as seemingly unattainable as Barrymore. (However, they are fascinated with the tale of Herzlinger’s long-ago encounter with Jennifer Love Hewitt at a Taco Bell.) A few celebrities even wind up making appearances to offer him tips and romantic advice; screenwriter John August analyzes what characters that she has played are closest to her real personality, Eric Roberts (?) recommends that he build up his body and Corey Feldman recalls the time when a young Barrymore was looking for someone to give her his number. (Andy Dick, on the other hand, turns him down flat.)
Despite what you may be thinking, the resulting film, “My Date With Drew,” is neither an exercise in self-absorbed navel-gazing nor an endorsement of celebrity stalking. Instead, it is a charming and funny look at pursuing dreams that winds up being better than it might have been for a couple of reasons. One is the fact that Herzlinger comes off as so adorably goofy and good-hearted that you can’t help but root for him–especially when he admits and offers proof that he once belonged to the Drew Barrymore fan club. The other is the fact that his quest is based in something that most film fans can relate to–the notion of a celebrity crush. Many of you reading this probably have some famous person that you have gone ga-ga over–especially if it happened at a young age (since you’re asking, mine is Nastassja Kinski)–and have probably idly speculated on what you might say or do if you actually encountered them. (I suspect mine would involve a Tex Avery-like bulging of the eyes followed by a dead faint.) Therefore, it is easy to both understand why Herzlinger is doing what he is doing and to actually care about whether or not he gets his dream date after all.“My Dinner with Drew” isn’t a masterpiece by any means and it isn’t quite as spectacular or revelatory as some of the other extraordinary documentaries currently in release. However, it is an enormously charming little film that taps into a universal truth and explores it in a sweet and often hilarious fashion. As for the ending, I wouldn’t dream of revealing what happens except to say that it contains more thrilling twists and turns than anything Michael Bay has cranked out recently. To say more would be unfair–if you want to know, go see “My Date with Drew.”