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Henry (Adam Sandler) is a womanising vet in a Hawaiian sea world park, who sets off on his yacht to fulfil a dream of sailing to Alaska and study walruses underwater. When the boat is damaged and he pulls in for repairs at a small Hawaiian island, he meets Lucy (Drew Barrymore). But Lucy doesn't really meet him, since her post-accident condition means she forgets what happened yesterday. Every day. Neither are fit for a long term relationship, for their different reasons, but Henry is smitten - even though Lucy keeps forgetting him.

Review by Louise Keller:
The premise is dodgy and the script is a bit ho-hum, but somehow 50 First Dates wins us with its goofy, good natured charm and likeable characters. The glue that keeps it all together is the chemistry between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, and while the film may not have the emotional pay off of their 1998 romantic comedy collaboration The Wedding Singer, the easy banter and nonsensical situations make this easy-viewing indeed.

A variation on the theme of Groundhog Day in Hawaii with a sprinkling of Memento, director Peter Segal knows exactly what sort of film he is making, and keeps a handle on what works best. And what looks best with gorgeous Hawaiian settings, whose lazy palms whisper in the wind and whose dazzling blue ocean beckons alluringly.

Unashamedly milking the audience for laughs from the compelling animal cast, we meet Willie, the cute-as-a-button penguin and Jacko, the hip, scene-stealing moustachioed walrus who waves, gives a few 'take 5s' and even vomits on cue. But the animals aren't the only scene stealers. Rob Schneider's Ula - Henry's wonky-eyed best friend - is rather endearing, and wait until you see Sean Astin's steroid-popping, lithping, body-builder Doug, whose pecs are ultimately larger than his brains. If you haven't seen Astin in anything except Lord of The Rings, you are in for a surprise! And Lusia Strus's gender-bending German assistant Alexa, with the Tyrolean plaits and the sergeant-major attitude that's coloured with sexual innuendo, is a hoot. Of course, the reason that the wacky offbeat characters work so well, is because the film is grounded by some very real characters. Characters like Pomaika'i Brown as the heavily tattooed indigenous chef, Amy Hill's caring café owner Sue and Blake Clark, who plays it very straight as Lucy's father, intent on maintaining the routine of playing out the same events - day after day, after day...

There are moments that are played just for laughs - like Allen Covert's '10 second Tom', who makes us all try to think of more economical ways of conveying information - bearing in mind, we all know that the conversation will begin from scratch again, in just 10 seconds. And there are moments that are just plain 'sweet' - when Henry and Lucy enjoy 'the first kiss', again and again - and always in beautiful locations.

It may have little substance, but 50 First Dates is good fun for the undemanding. It's a good-looking escape with a healthy dose of frivolity... so what are you waiting for?

Now for the DVD: A string of saliva during a kiss, an unco-operative penguin, a noisy walruss, Drew Barrymore waking up as she normally does... these are just a few of the fun moments in the seven minute blooper reel. There's an audio commentary with director Peter Segal and Barrymore, a promotion for Adam Sandlers new album, five deleted scenes (with optional commentary), plus three features. There's Ula's Movie Round Up, a feature about Hawaiien slang and a behind the Scenes feature called The Dating Game.

Published July 8, 2004

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(US, 2004)

CAST: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Rob Schneider, Sean Astin, Lusia Strus, Dan Aykroyd, Amy Hill

DIRECTOR: Peter Segal

SCRIPT: George Wing

RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen (2.40/16:9 enhanced)

SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by director Peter Sega, Drew Barrymore; deleted scenes with optional director commentary; blooper reel; behind the scenes features (3); 3 music videos; trailer


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