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More than your average Valentine movie

Jacqueline Pimentel-Gannon | Wednesday, February 18, 2004

If you are searching for a romantic comedy that is actually funny, look no further than 50 First Dates. It can hardly be described as a chick flick and will be enjoyed by girls and guys alike. Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, together for the first time since 1998’s The Wedding Singer, star in 50 First Dates. Fans of either star will not be disappointed by this hilarious movie. Sandler plays Henry Roth, a veterinarian in Maui who enjoys many short-term flings with vacationing women. He is completely satisfied with this lifestyle until he meets Lucy Whitmore (Barrymore) in a diner one morning. The two hit it off and Henry cannot stop thinking about Lucy. He goes to the diner the following morning and sees Lucy again but is confused when he goes to talk to her and finds that she has no idea who he is. Henry learns that Lucy had been in a car accident the previous year, sustaining brain damage that left her with no short-term memory. Every morning she awakes with no recollection of the previous day and thinks that it is the day before her accident. Henry is so infatuated with Lucy that he tries to meet her each day and persuade her to like him. He is successful on some days and fails miserably on others. Lucy’s father, Marlin (Blake Clark), catches on and warns Henry to stay away from his daughter, but Henry will not be deterred. Hilarity ensues as Henry creates scenarios to meet Lucy that grow increasingly absurd.Eventually, Marlin realizes that Henry’s intentions toward Lucy are pure and it is evident that Lucy likes Henry. So Henry is allowed to try a new way of dealing with Lucy’s condition. He makes a video that explains everything about the accident and her memory loss. She watches the movie in the morning, has time to react to it and then spends afternoons with Henry.A relationship between the two develops even though it has to start from scratch each day. They are forced to deal with the fact that Lucy cannot remember him from day to day, and this results in a comical scene in which Lucy awakens to a man she doesn’t recognize in her bed. Though this film is highly refreshing in its originality, it does not stray so far from the norm as to deny filmgoers the happy ending they have come to expect – it just comes about differently than one might initially think.The acting is superb; Barrymore matches Sandler’s comedic talent and there is a wonderful supporting cast that includes Dan Aykroyd as Lucy’s doctor and Sean Astin (title character in Rudy and now best known as Samwise in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) as Doug. Some of the funniest lines come from Rob Schneider as Henry’s best friend, a stoner named Ula.As in most Sandler movies, expect some crude jokes. There is some over-the-top sexual humor, but it still manages to come off as funny. Director Peter Segal (Tommy Boy and My Fellow Americans) takes a subject matter made for a serious drama and delivers an exceedingly amusing story.It would be hard to think of a film that could cause an entire audience to laugh as often and as loudly as 50 First Dates, so whether on a first date or with a bunch of friends, see this movie.