Wednesday, April 25, 2012

50 first dates

I recently saw for the first time the movie 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Sandler may be the recipient of the most Razzies ever bestowed upon a performer, but over the past few years I have had to admit that I can't help liking him and his movies. Did I say that out loud?

In 50 First Dates Henry (Sandler) lives the Life of Riley in Hawaii. A marine-life vet, his main hobby is to date and leave a series of women that he meets on the island. But his womanizing ways soon become a thing of the past after he meets Lucy (Barrymore) one morning at a local café. They have instant chemistry and plan to meet the next day, but when Henry shows up Lucy doesn't remember meeting him. Lucy's friends at the café fill him in — A year earlier Lucy was involved in a car accident that has affected her memory. She has an odd form of amnesia in which she forgets everything that has happened in a 24-hour period.

Learning that she was in an accident and her loss of memory each morning was too painful to experience (and re-experience), so her father Marlin (Blake Clark) and brother Doug (Sean Astin) re-enact the activities of that day, which also happened to be her father's birthday, every day, in an effort to protect her.

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler meet cute
Rob Schneider and Sandler meet not so cute
Sandler's usual silliness is in full evidence, mainly in the characters of Doug, an aspiring bodybuilder who lisps as a result of steroid abuse, and Rob Schnieder as Ula, Henry's goofy assistant. But 50 First Dates also has a serious side. Lucy's problem does not have an easy sitcom-pat solution. Henry truly loves her, and believes that it would be better for her and her family if they didn't keep lying to her. He must come up with some creative ways to help her remember him and what happened to her. Visuals come in handy, as Lucy paints and draws and Henry helps her create a notebook and makes videotapes to help tell (and re-tell) their story.

Having a mother with dementia probably caused me to have a deeper reading of 50 First Dates. Henry and Lucy get a fresh start each day, but Henry must be the custodian of their past. It also made me realize that even if many things are forgotten, there is still a lot to be enjoyed in the moment. 50 First Dates may not be a typical romantic comedy, but it is certainly an entertaining one, and full of feeling.
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