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Published on June 19th, 2008 | by simeon

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50 First Dates

Aquatic Vet Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) seems to have it all. He has a great job working at the local aquarium, a loyal best friend named Ula (Rob Schneider), and tons of gorgeous ladies for him to romance.

The fact that Henry only dates tourists and concocts all manner of false identities such as that of a secret agent in order to keep the relationships casual is of no concern to Henry as he likes to keep it simple when dealing with the ladies. Henry is afraid of commitment after being betrayed years earlier but all that is about to change when he meets a charming lady named Lucy (Drew Barrymore), when he comes upon a small diner while waiting for his boat to be towed following a sailing mishap.

Henry and Lucy hit it off and make plans to meet at the diner the following morning. Very excited over this encounter, Henry can’t wait for the morning to come. When he meets with Lucy the next morning, she has no idea who he is and is very icy towards him. Perplexed over the unexpected change, Henry is informed by a waitress that Lucy was in an accident a year ago, and as a result, is unable to make any long-term memories. For Lucy, life is a perpetual loop as she can remember up to the day of the accident and repeats that morning over and over. Her father (Blake Clarke), and her steroid abusing brother Doug (Sean Astin), endures great lengths to keep Lucy from learning about her condition as they do everything they can to recreate the day as it was, even if it means living the same day over and over for them.

Henry is undaunted by the situation, and concocts a series of plans to meet Lucy and talk with her every day. Some are more drastic than the one before but many of them are often very funny.

What follows is a very charming and often funny story as Henry romances Lucy anew every day, and deals with being in love with a lady who is unable to remember their last night with each other.

The chemistry between Sandler and Barrymore is evident and reminds me of the great chemistry that propelled “The Wedding Singer” to great heights at the box office. Sandler is his usual wacky and crazy self but he also shows a very tender and vulnerable side in this film that he hinted at in previous films such as “The Wedding Singer” and “Big Daddy”, only to abandon in later films. It is nice to see Sandler showing a more diverse character than his usual lovable looser as Henry is a career man with goals and dreams who finds himself falling in love after not allowing himself to get emotionally close to someone in many years.

Barrymore for her part is amazing as she shows the radiant joy for life that her character has yet is capable of showing the other ranges of emotion Lucy encounters as she has her life and routine changed by the presence of Henry.

Rob Schneider is along for comic relief as his Ula is a kind yet bumbling character that with 4 kids, lives his erotic fantasies through Henry as his family has long put those adventures behind him. While not essential to the plot, Schneider provides some good laughs, as does Astin with his lispy performance as a weightlifter in denial over what his training enhancements are doing to him.

All in all, “50 First Dates” is a very sweet romantic comedy with more than enough laughs to keep everyone happy and more than enough romance to make this the perfect date movie of the year.

4 stars out of 5


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