Review by Paul Stathakis | March 1, 2006

So bad that it parodies a few films that aren't even date movies

Think of the suc­cess sto­ries we’ve heard about cer­tain Amer­i­can film­mak­ers. Direc­tor Robert Rodriguez lent his body to sci­ence so that he could finance his first fea­ture film El Mari­achi. There is the sto­ry of Edward Burns, whose script for The Broth­ers McMullen was refused by almost every­one in Hol­ly­wood, then final­ly acquired by Fox Search­light Pic­tures and released at the 1994 Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val. These are direc­tors and writ­ers who pushed them­selves to the fin­ish line after expe­ri­enc­ing the long wait for some­one to see light in their work.

Date Movie” is a com­e­dy writ­ten by two of the six writ­ers respon­si­ble for Scary Movie. The sto­ry fol­lows a hope­less roman­tic, Julia Jones (Alyson Han­ni­gan), who spends her days as a wait­ress at her father’s (Eddie Grif­fin) Greek din­er, wait­ing for mis­ter right. One fate­ful morn­ing Julia final­ly meets the man of her dreams; a debonair Brit named Grant Fon­ck­y­er­do­der (Adam Camp­bell). What fol­lows is a scene in which Julia under­goes an absurd makeover, going from a plump fig­ure to that of a mod­el. Imag­ine her long toe­nails being filed with a tool used by mechan­ics. The joke (if you can call it a joke) is based on the show Pimp My Ride, which takes ordi­nary vehi­cles and vivid­ly cus­tomizes them. This scene, like near­ly all scenes in “Date Movie”, fails to call up any laughs what­so­ev­er.

When Grant and Julia decide to mar­ry, Grant’s ex-girl­friend Andy (Sophie Monk), enters the pic­ture. A series of unfor­tu­nate events ensue, which include Andy’s plans to spoil Julia’s wed­ding and win over Grant’s heart again.

In the tra­di­tion of the Scary Movie fran­chise, Date Movie relies on the idea of par­o­dy­ing oth­er exist­ing well-known films (roman­tic movies in this case) such as “My Best Friend’s Wed­ding”, “My Big Fat Greek Wed­ding”, “Kill Bill”, and “Meet the Fock­ers.” But since when is “Kill Bill” con­sid­ered to be a ‘date movie’?

How­ev­er, cred­it must be giv­en where it is due. The writ­ers, Andy Seltzer and Jason Fried­berg, do actu­al­ly include two or three humor­ous scenes. One of them involves a minia­ture ver­sion of Will Smith’s char­ac­ter in “Hitch” (Tony Cox). Lit­tle Hitch reveals to Julia some of the celebri­ty cou­ples he paired. Anoth­er fun­ny moment has to do with an actu­al store sign. Watch for the scene where Julia vis­its a shop to try on wed­ding gowns. The sign reads: “Best Bride.” That aside, we’re left to won­der how a major stu­dio like 20th Cen­tu­ry Fox ever agreed to pro­duce such a dis­cour­te­ous, detestable, and friv­o­lous film.

Jen­nifer Coolidge as Julia’s moth­er imi­tates Bar­bara Streisand’s char­ac­ter from “Meet the Fock­ers” with exact­ness, and even Alyson Han­ni­gan shows signs that she wants the movie to work. The actors can­not save a film that stands on quick­sand and sinks deep­er with every pass­ing minute. The end­ing scene fea­tures a cameo appear­ance by model/actress Car­men Elec­tra who per­forms a King Kong par­o­dy. This moment rep­re­sents the film’s final attempt to be diverse and amus­ing. Alas, not even the last scene evokes any laugh­ter.

Mod­ern cin­e­ma is in need of fresh writ­ers like Rodriguez and Burns, who want to suc­ceed in the busi­ness and who demon­strate tal­ent and orig­i­nal­i­ty. Hol­ly­wood can free two spots by sim­ply replac­ing the writ­ers of “Date Movie.” This com­e­dy is rude, lame-brained, and an embar­rass­ing expe­ri­ence at the movies.

 

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