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50 First Dates

Posted April. 13, 2004 22:20,   


An arctic wildlife veterinarian, Henry (Adam Sandler) bumps into Lucy (Drew Barrymore) at a restaurant. Immediately smitten with Lucy, Henry manages to convince Lucy to agree to a first date. However, upon meeting him the next day, Lucy treats Henry like a complete freak. Due to a traffic accident a year ago, Lucy suffers from short-term memory loss which makes her forget the previous day. Henry refuses to give up and sets out to win her love everyday “as a first” with his wild and crazy ideas.

Directed by Peter Segal who produced movies like “Naked Gun 3” and “Anger Management,” this movie chooses a “far-fetched, yet incredible situation” rather than a mere “funny situation.” For Lucy, who has been waking up every morning thinking it`s the same day, her family has to muster up a terribly shocking expression every time they watch the final scene in the movie “Sixth Sense.” In Henry’s case, he stops traffic one day, breaks down a car the next day, and fakes being abducted another day in his attempt to propose to Lucy everyday.

The notion of short-term memory loss in “50 First Dates” thus carries the double intention of being funny and touching. Through dates that do not allow even a day of laziness or mistakes, this movie searches for the meaning of true love. To the womanizing Henry, Lucy was initially the ideal date who wouldn’t remember him if he decided to dump her out of the blue, but over time she becomes the black hole of love that he continually tries to win over.

Lucy tries to break up with Henry because she can’t stand to watch him sacrifice so much. She throws out her diary where she writes about her tingling memories with him. In the end, the beauty of this movie lies in the “fabricated memories” of a short-term memory loss patient.

Along with Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler holds the reputation of being a leading Hollywood comedian. However, after watching this movie, it is apparent that he is taking a different route than Ben Stiller. Instead of explosively bursting out of the screen, he chooses a wiser acting method of meshing with other characters and melting into the flora and fauna of Hawaii. This is his second movie with Drew Barrymore, who successfully manages to convince the audience that she indeed will forget everything after a day, in six years since “The Wedding Singer.”

Henry’s disgustingly dirty friend Ula (Rob Schneider), Lucy’s brother Doug (Sean Astin, who plays the role of Sam in “Lord of the Rings”), who has to show off his muscles by taking steroids because Lucy doesn’t know he didn’t make it to the Mr. Universe contest, all fall back on dirty humor, but doesn’t stray from the basic premise of family love and friendship. Opening April 15. Rated PG 13.

Seung-Jae Lee sjda@donga.com