50 First Dates

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Henry Roth is a veterinarian at Sea Life Park on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, who has a reputation of womanizing female tourists and shows no interest in committing to a serious relationship. Henry’s closest friends are Ula, a marijuana-smoking Islander; his assistant Alexa, whose sexuality is unclear; Willy, his pet African penguin and Jocko, a walrus.

One day Henry’s boat breaks down while he is sailing around Oahu. He goes to the Hukilau Café to wait for the Coast Guard. There he sees a young woman named Lucy Whitmore, who makes architectural art with her waffles. Henry assumes she is a local, which prevents him from introducing himself, but the next day he comes back. Lucy and he hit it off instantly and she asks him to meet her again tomorrow morning.

When Henry goes back to the café, Lucy shows no recollection of ever meeting him. The restaurant owner Sue (Amy Hill) explains to Henry that one year ago, Lucy and her father Marlin went up to the North Shore to pick a pineapple for his birthday. On the way back, they had a serious car accident that left Lucy with anterograde amnesia and she wakes up every morning thinking it is October 13 of last year. To save her the heartbreak of reliving the accident every day, Marlin and Doug, Lucy’s lisping steroid-addicted brother, re-enact Marlin’s birthday by following a script, including putting out October 13’s Sunday newspaper, re-watching the same Vikings game, and refilling Lucy’s shampoo bottles.

Despite Sue’s warning, Henry invites Lucy to have breakfast with him. Eventually he does, but it ends poorly when Henry unintentionally hurts Lucy’s feelings. He follows her home to apologize where Marlin and Doug instruct Henry to leave Lucy alone. Henry begins concocting ways to run into Lucy through the following days such as pretending to have car trouble, creating a fake road block, or by having Ula beat him up. Eventually, Marlin and Doug figure this out due to Lucy singing The Beach Boys “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” on the days when she meets Henry.

One day, as Henry is about to sit with Lucy at breakfast, she notices a police officer writing her a ticket for her expired plates. Lucy attempts to argue that they are not yet expired, and takes a newspaper to prove herself, but sees that the date on all the newspapers is not October as she thought, and Marlin and Doug are forced to admit their ruse when she confronts them.

Henry comes up with an idea to make a video explaining to Lucy her accident and their relationship and play it every morning for her. She watches the tape and is hurt, but eventually comes to her senses and is able to spend the day by picking up where the tape says she left off. She spends more time with Henry and goes to see some of her old friends. Lucy decides to erase Henry completely from her life after learning of his decision not to take a sailing trip to Bristol Bay to study walruses, something he has been planning for the past 10 years. He feels he cannot leave Lucy for the year it will take him. Henry reluctantly helps her destroy her journal entries of their relationship.

A few weeks later, Henry is preparing to leave for his sailing trip. Before he departs, Marlin tells him that Lucy is now living at the brain institute and teaching an art class. He also tells him that she sings. Then, he gives Henry a Beach Boys CD. Listening to the CD, Henry becomes emotional and curses Marlin for giving him the CD and making him feel so emotional. He then remembers that Marlin once told him that Lucy always sings after she meets him. Concluding that Lucy remembers him, he returns home. She says she does not remember, but then she dreams about him every night and paints pictures of him. They reconcile.

Some time later, Lucy wakes up and plays a video tape marked “Good Morning Lucy”. It again informs her of her accident, but ends with her and Henry’s wedding. From the tape, Henry says to put a jacket on and come have breakfast when she is ready. Lucy then sees that she is on Henry’s boat, which finally made it to Alaska. She goes up on deck and meets Marlin, Henry and their daughter, Nicole.

REVIEW:

I probably should have saved this one for closer to Valentine’s Day, but oh well. 50 First Dates is considered by many to be one of Sandler’s best film, but it is also one of the films that started the belief that he just pays for his friends to go on a vacation, and I should also mention that this is one of the last of the Sandler films that people really like. So, since this brought about the end of an era, let’s see if he went out with a bang, shall we?

What is this about?

In this offbeat romantic comedy, marine veterinarian Henry Roth changes his womanizing ways after he falls for pretty art teacher Lucy Whitmore. Trouble is, she has no short-term memory, so Henry has to win her over again every day.

What did I like?

Creativity. Imagine if someone in your life was afflicted with this brand of short-term memory loss. I am more than inclined to believe we would all do everything we can to make sure everything is perfect for them. That is exactly what Lucy’s father, brother, and all the people around her try to do. While it may seem like the neverending hell of Groundhog’s day to them, it is always a new experience for her. When Henry comes into the picture, it was intriguing to see how creative he was at getting her to remember him. Not going to say any of them here, just watch for yourself.

Chemistry. In Blended, we were treated to the on-screen reunion of Sandler and Barrymore and were amazed at how well their chemistry has withstood the years. Here, we get to see their second go-round (The Wedding Singer being the first), and perhaps the best pairing of the two. It may have just been the way they or the situation were written, but they have this puppy dog type of romance that just gives you the warm fuzzy feeling inside.

Romance. Continuing on that romance angle, think back to your best romance (doesn’t have to be your current significant other, mind you). Wouldn’t you like to take the best parts of that relationship and live it everyday, at least for awhile? I know that I would (and forget about the mistakes that brought it to an end…lol). These two are like a high school couple. They truly enjoy each other’s company, share each other’s affection, etc. I believe the term they use for this is “meetcute”. For this film, it works a thousand fold!

What didn’t I like?

Ulu. I know that Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider are friends, at least they were for the longest time. They had an argument or something and haven’t really done much together since. Anwyay, as I was saying, they are friends, and Schneider is a good comedic foil. However, making a Hawaiian just wasn’t working. Did he have to be painted that weird gray-brown color? And that accent…was he Hawaiian? Mexican? Some mixture of all nationalities? What was the deal there?

Get off the juice. I didn’t really get the reason to have Sean Astin’s character allegedly juicing. First of all, he looks like he is just ripping off Josh Brolin’s clothes from The Goonies (which was his big brother in that movie). Second, he isn’t anywhere near big enough to be roided out. Seriously, who did this casting?!?

80s…in reggae form. Adam Sandler is in love with the 80s, and who can blame him. Normally, I would defend his love of that totally awesome decade, but I don’t think the songs fit in this film. Part of that may have just been that they were given reggae/ska remakes and it was distracting. That isn’t to say all of them fall into that category, but most do. Perhaps we could have just been treated to new reggae/ska tunes? There was a version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” that is typically associated with Hawaii, maybe more stuff like that would have worked better.

Man, can you just imagine taking your significant other on 50 First Dates (see what I did there?) Seriously, though, this is a nice, I believe the term is “Netflix and chill”, film. Those that are into that sentimental, sappy stuff have something to watch, while those that are into good comedy have something, as well. Don’t let me forget to mention the beautiful Hawaii scenery, though it isn’t on as full display as you would think with a Sandler film. Do I recommend this picture? Yes, very highly. You and your date will have a nice romantic evening!

5 out of 5 stars

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