What's that saying? "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?" Director Peter Segal surely had that motto in mind when he once again teamed up Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in their latest romantic comedy, 50 First Dates.
Veterinarian Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) is a ladies' man known to date women who are on vacation, thereby avoiding any form of commitment. That is, until he meets local island girl Lucy (Drew Barrymore). Sparks immediately fly when the two flirt while designing a waffle teepee out of Lucy's breakfast. After a lovely morning together, they make plans to rendezvous at the same diner for breakfast the following morning. However, the next day, to Henry's surprise, Lucy acts as though she is completely unaware of the previous day's encounter with him. Henry is then informed by the diner owner Sue (Amy Hill) that Lucy suffers from a short-term memory loss condition due to a car accident a year ago. After learning of Lucy's ailment, Henry wins the approval of Lucy's father and her steroid-popping brother (who also suffers from a serious lisp). He then spends every day coaxing Lucy into falling in love with him while hoping that she regains her memory.
Unlike past roles as a goofball or an overly-aggressive hot-head, Sandler displays his sweeter side as he woos Barrymore's character night after night. The relationship that unfolds between the two main characters is adorable. Also, the chemistry between Sandler and Barrymore is believable. This isn't the kind of movie in which the male lead plays off of the love interest, stealing all the funny lines; here, both have comic moments.
Barrymore comes across as loveable, but not overly so as she has sometimes been in the past. She's funny, down to earth and, as we learn, isn't afraid to swing a bat. Yet this potentially sweet romantic comedy is still overstuffed with the usual, now repetitive, Adam Sandler style comedy. He is surrounded by the usual crew of character actors that you can pick out of Big Daddy or The Waterboy. Those non-Sandler fans might be disappointed with the overtones from Sandler's past movies, while true Sandlerites might feel the film is too much of a departure from Sandler's simpler days of comedy. But overall, if you can find a middle ground to stand on, you might walk away from 50 First Dates having enjoyed it.