Just when I start getting used to the
cookie-cutter formula of most romantic comedy movies, a film like 50 First Dates
comes along, picks me out of my seat, spins me around, and drops me back down so I don’t
know which way is up. I walked into the movie theater expecting this movie to be cute
and funny at best—and crude and obnoxious at worst. What I found instead was a touching,
sweet romantic comedy that occasionally brought tears to my eyes. Best described as
Groundhog Day with a twist, this movie tells the story of a love that defies a
huge and unusual obstacle.
Adam Sandler plays Henry Roth, a ladies' man,
man’s man, man about town—the love ‘em and leave ‘em type. Henry’s the sort of guy most
women detest—he dates a woman briefly, sleeps with her, and then tells her he’s
married/gay/about to be deported, etc. He’s committed to his work as a veterinarian, and
he’s terrified of any other kind of commitment. This all changes when he meets Lucy
Whitmire in a coffee shop.
Drew Barrymore is Lucy, a sweet, beautiful girl
with a severe handicap. She was in a car accident over a year before the story begins,
and, as a result, she lost her ability to retain her short-term memory. Each night when
she goes to sleep, her brain “resets” itself, and she wakes up each day thinking it’s
October 13 of the previous year—the day the accident took place.
gets rolling when Henry not only decides that he cares about Lucy enough to have her meet
and fall in love with him each day, but he also manages to convince her overprotective
family and friends that he’s the real deal.
Sandler and Barrymore prove
once again that they have unbelievable chemistry onscreen (they were also wonderful
together in 1998’s The Wedding Singer). They remind me a little of Tom Hanks and
Meg Ryan (Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, etc.) Although the
character of Henry Roth has a softer, gentler persona than many of the characters we’ve
seen Sandler play in the past, fans of the former SNL comedian will appreciate the subtle
jokes and references to some of his earlier movies, such as Happy Gilmore. Even
the requisite Sandler-composed song, “Forgetful Lucy,” is sweet and romantic rather than
over-the-top. Drew Barrymore portrays the sweet and confused Lucy to perfection—the
audience can completely understand why Henry would go to such great lengths for this
girl. Sean Astin and Rob Schneider are hilarious in their supporting roles, and the film
has a great soundtrack to back it up.
This movie is definitely a
must-see—whether you’re on a first date of your own, with a long-term sweetie, or just
with the gang. I highly recommend it.