DATE MOVIE (2006)
Starring Alyson Hannigan, Adam Campbell, Eddie Griffin, Sophie Monk, Tony Cox, Fred Willard, Jennifer Coolidge, Valery M. Ortiz and Carmen Electra.
Screenplay by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer.
Directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer.
Distributed by 20th Century Fox. 80 minutes. Rated PG-13.
Okay, it is time to declare a moratorium on comedies that think that it is enough to just stitch together a bunch of scenes from other movies to mock weakly. Date Movie is not merely a bad movie — it is a medley of uninteresting moments from lots of kind-of-good-to-not-that-great movies, including My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Meet the Parents/Fockers, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Hitch, Pretty Woman, When Harry Met Sally, The Wedding Planner, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Along Came Polly, What Women Want, even The Lord of the Rings, King Kong and Kill Bill.
As you can see, Date Movie is a satire on romantic comedies. Which makes one wonder — what exactly is the point in trying to satirize movies that were already (well, at least some of them were) funny. Also, what exactly is comical about making references — often repeating entire chunks of dialogue — to other films without bothering to add something to the mix?
We’ve seen most of the movies already — and frankly many of them weren’t good on their own — but at least the scenes made some sort of sense in the bigger scope of their stories. Here it is all smashed together with no rhyme or reason, completely formless and nearly free of laughs. Oh, sure, you throw out enough jokes some will connect. In all fairness Date Movie had maybe three or four legitimate laughs, but considering the amount of shots they take, that’s a pretty sad batting average.
It’s hard to believe that this film comes from the genre of goofy satires like Airplane! or The Naked Gun. Those movies also threw out dumb jokes and did satirize older films, but they never stooped to the lazy writing and lack of form that Date Movie does.
Date Movie wears its mediocrity like a badge — the poster brags that it is from two of the six writers of Scary Movie. Of course, the real selling point would be if it said that the movie was made by lots of people who had nothing to do with the Scary Movie series. These two writers, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (I have to name them because they deserve to be held accountable for their crimes) also work together as co-directors. It took TWO people to direct this???
Beyond being not particularly funny, the movie is surprisingly mean-spirited. In one scene where we are following our couple on their first date, they are walking down a romantic park road when she suggests they “bum punch.” He (and the audience) looks confused until she walks up to a nearby homeless guy and hits him in the face. Then the two of them laughingly beat on the man, hitting him, kicking him, gouging him and eventually stealing his wallet and skipping off laughing. Okay, I understand they did something unexpected there. They made you expect one thing and did another. However, shock value is not humor and there is nothing at all funny about assaulting a vagrant.
Shock value is on overdrive here however. There are more toilet jokes, fart jokes, fat jokes and zit jokes than you can possibly count. There is even a scene — the most disgusting moment of a film full of horrifying occurrences — in which a cat attempts to have sex with a mummified corpse. Who finds this humorous? And what does it say about the writers that they find it amusing?
The only thing barely watchable about the film is the star. Alyson Hannigan throws herself into her role gamely and does her best to lift the material to passable status — but no one could make Date Movie funny. (3/06)
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2006 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: March 7, 2006.