Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Remember, Gems are Always Found Underneath Big Piles of Other Rocks

Movie snobs, look away now! Or come on down and revel in the ugliness - if that's how you get your jollies!

My lovely wife and I sat down to take in a movie last night. We were tired, so were gonna watch the first hour and pick up the second half tonight. We ended up not even pausing for snack or potty breaks.

The flick? Believe it or not: Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore's movie 50 First Dates. What a sweet, yet hilarious little movie.

The review by Perry Seibert on puts his finger on what makes the movie work, so here ya go: "The Memento-meets-Groundhog Day conceit is actually thought out by first-time screenwriter George Wing. The film actually takes the time to figure out how Drew Barrymore's inability to make new memories affects those who love her most, and manages to find complications and solutions that are logical and thematically resonant."

Rob Schneider gets to do what he's best at, a memorable sidekick character-actor bit. And Sean Astin - yes, Samwise himself, that fat little hobbit - plays the steroid-addicted and buff(!) brother of Drew Barrymore's character to great effect. I couldn't pick out where else I'd seen him until I pulled up the credits. The DVD extras include a mini-documentary on the pidgin English the Hawaiians use in the movie, and pretty good outtakes- one featuring Drew waxing less-than-ecstatic about the pools of sweat forming beneath her breasts during a long take on a hot day.

Few comedians/writers/directors ever hit a stride where they can contain humor and pathos in a perfect balance within a single film. This movie deserves to become a minor classic. It makes me want to give away lines - describe set pieces - but I'd rather you got to experience them for yourself. We had to back up and watch a few gags a couple times as they were so funny we had to relive them immediately, let alone catch what we missed right afterwards from laughing so hard. The sentimental stuff works, too. The ending formed huge rivers down my wife's face. As for myself, I was just tired and my eyes tend to get watery when I'm sleepy. No, really.

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