by Greg Muskewitz
Like Anger Management (same director, Peter Segal), it’s another attempt by Adam Sandler to tone down his schtick (and in doing so, pass it on to others, such as his Russian butch co-worker) and aim for the sympathetic, which means that this will be of his more tolerable variety.Re-teamed with Drew Barrymore in hopes of not just sparking the chemistry they shared in The Wedding Singer, but the box office of it too, Sandler falls in love with a girl who happens to suffer from short-term memory loss after a car accident, where her father and steroid-soaked, lisping brother go to all lengths to re-play the same day out of her life over and over. (They have a closet full of the same day’s newspaper, she paints a wall in the garage that they then paint back over, they watch The Sixth Sense (“I didn’t see that coming”), she eats at the diner every day where Sandler meets her.) And of course, those lengths don’t match the ones Sandler goes to, first, to make (or re-make) an impression upon her, and then to help her adjust each and every day to where their relationship stands and what they’ve done together. Of course, all of this is a growth for Sandler, who is a commitment-phobe and hitherto has only dated tourists so as not to be tied down. Minimal mileage is actually accrued in the humorous and joke-y turn on the Memento front, but that still doesn’t warm one up to the movie’s poking fun of it, no matter how sweet Sandler’s character can be. It’s fun, and even perhaps slightly romantic, for a while, but the audience doesn’t suffer from the same ailment that Barrymore does, causing 50 First Dates to tread heavily on already thin ground. And as much as there is a concerted effort made to be more adult, more so than in most Sandler comedies, there is also the inability to relinquish other puerile tidbits in the periphery (particularly the participation of animal slapstick, or “Ten-Second Tom”). It works both ways, allowing Rob Schneider as a native Hawaiian, to make a splash for laughs, but cause a similar shrinking sensation apposite to diving into icy water. With Blake Clark, Sean Astin, Dan Aykroyd, and Allen Covert.[See it if you must.]
"It would be cuter if we could forget as fast as Barrymore's character."
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originally posted: 04/07/04 16:23:40