50 First Dates (2004)

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This is obviously a different kind of Sandler film simply for this utterly sweet premise which manages to create complications for the main character Henry who sees something in Lucy that he hasn’t seen in other women before her. Henry is a marine biologist who dances and romances tourist women and dumps them upon the end of their vacation, until one day he meets the beautiful Lucy, a spunky native and instantly falls in love with her. At first glance, Henry seems to just want to have a fling with her, but he realizes she’s not like everyone else, and sadly therein lies the problem. He instantly falls in love with her after a very sweet meeting, but the irony is she can’t remember him at all. The story has a lot of heart because of it’s sheer bittersweet storyline in which Henry, completely infatuated with Lucy, attempts to make her fall in love with him over and over every day.

The film does not approach Lucy’s mental disability with a mean spirit. Her awakening to Henry is hilarious to watch as she freaks out, but then her disorder is approached with a more sentimental theme, and slowly we reach more comedy drama themes regarding her disability, and Henry’s repeated attempts to get her to fall in love with him which are both very funny and very sweet all at the same time. The scenes where he tries to jog her memory to get to meet her over and over is funny and sweet, because though she has no memory of the previous meeting, she doesn’t fall for the same pick-up lines he used the previous day, so his challenge is to make her fall for him again and again, and the scenarios play out like Wile e. Coyote attempting to capture the road runner.

This constant plot device is played out into another more dramatic scenario where Lucy’s father and brother attempt to keep Lucy from knowing her secret which plays out in a series of pretty sad but funny sequences. These devices while tending to tug on your heartstrings will also make you laugh so it never becomes really exploitative. For a comedy starring Adam Sandler, it’s surprising this isn’t more gratuitous in its violent content, but surely enough it’s enjoyable. Sandler is a lot of fun to watch here with a character the audience knows isn’t a good person, but we tend to grow fond of him as the movie progresses. Barrymore is hilarious here as a character who’s both sad and funny. You can’t help but be charmed by this movie, because there is plenty of things to like.

As all Sandler movies does, this squeezes in gratuitous violence into the film ruining the flow of a sweet story. While the violence here isn’t as bad or as gross as usual Sandler fare, he just can’t seem to grow up and stop including such stupidity to even such a sweet movie as this. There’s an animal vomiting all over someone, Barrymore beating Schneider senseless. Why was there was need for it in a movie that was really adorable? Despite my gripes with the inclusion of Sandler’s trademark gratuitous violence that stuck out like a sore thumb, this is a surprisingly good film with a sweet story, top-notch acting, and an ending that worked as a sweet book end.