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50 First Dates

Dude, Where's My Short Term Memory

There's a point in the new Sandler-Barrymore joint 50 First Dates in which a psychiatrist (played by Dan Ackroyd -- ouch Dan, ouch) tells us that Barrymore's character's mental condition "could be worse". He might as well be talking about the movie. It's bad, but it could be worse.

50 First Dates is the latest injection of Adam Sandler humor set to enter our national bloodstream. It is, of course, very much like the last few Sandler flicks; there are some laughs, but the effort to get to those laughs is considerable.

The movie takes place on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Sandler plays Henry Roth, a womanizing marine veterinarian with a fear of commitment. Henry only dates women from the mainland because they leave when their week in the sun is over. Constantly hanging out with Henry is his Hawaiian buddy Ula (Rob Schneider), who lives vicariously through his sexual exploits.

Everything is going just fine until Henry meets Lucy Whitmore (Drew Barrymore) at a small Hawaiian diner. They hit it off very nicely and agree to meet at the same diner again the next day. When the next day comes, however, Lucy doesn't remember Henry and she leaves the diner in a huff. That's when the café staff explains to Henry that Lucy was in a horrible accident and that she no longer has the ability to create new memories. Every single day she relives the day of the accident. Each and every day Lucy wakes up in the morning with no recollection of the events of the day before. Her short term memory is wiped clean. Somehow, this doesn't scare Henry off. He's so intoxicated by Barrymore's fantastic acting talents that he decides to court her anyway.

This takes us to the central plot of the story, although anytime multiple musical montage sequences are used to tell the story, you must put the word “plot” in quotations. Every day from that day on, Henry tries to win Lucy's heart. And there's seemingly nothing in it for him. But he can't help himself. She's all he wants, and he even braves her family to try and win her heart and kickstart her memory. Lucy's brother Doug, played by Sean Astin, formerly of Rudy and Samwise Gamgee fame, is probably the funniest character in the movie, with his wardrobe of mesh tee shirts and Oakley blades.

50 First Dates has a plot that makes very little sense, in fact, it's downright stupid. But Adam Sandler isn't trying to break new ground. You know what you're getting with his movies, which is why it's nearly impossible to pan them. If you don't like Adam Sandler, definitely don't go see this movie. But even some of the die-hard Sandler fans will leave the theater wishing they had Lucy's disease: to wake up in the morning with no memory of spending $9 on this movie.