**1/2 (out of 5)
February 17, 2006
Alyson Hannigan as JULIA JONES
Adam Campbell as GRANT FONCKYERDODER
Jennifer Coolidge as MRS. FONCKYERDODER
Eddie Griffin as FRANK JONES
Fred Willard as MR. FONCKYERDODER
Tony Cox as HITCH
Sophie Monk as ANDY
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
“Date Movie” isn’t a good movie. It’s really got some rough spots. However, it is not a movie that will surprise people. After watching the previews, I doubt anyone is going to expect anything great from it.
It might make you laugh. Just don’t go if you want to think. You could really hurt yourself.
I lump “Date Movie” into the same category as “Grandma’s Boy” (although I liked “Grandma’s Boy” more). It’s got some rough spots. I mean some really rough spots. Some of the gags are so poorly conceived, timed and presented that it is a wonder what was left on the cutting room floor.
Still, there were some segments that were quite clever. Not as many funny parts as “Grandma’s Boy,” but enough to justify watching it. Of course, the funniest parts are in the previews, including a dead-on spoof of “Napoleon Dynamite” and an opening dance number that really is the highlight of the film.
Where “Blazing Saddles” took on westerns, “Airplane!” took on disaster films and “Scary Movie” took on horror flicks, “Date Movie” skewers romantic comedies. While there are films out there that have poked fun at some, like “My Big Fat Independent Movie,” I don’t think that romantic comedies have rally gotten the spoof treatment yet.
“Date Movie” had a lot of material to mine in the cineplexes over the years. It hits on many of them, going as far back to the early 1990s with “Pretty Woman” and the late 1980s with “When Harry Met Sally.” Having seen many of the romantic comedy hits over the years, I know there’s plenty more movies to poke fun at – if “Date Movie” can justify itself at the box office.
Aiming directly at the PG-13 crowd – even to the point of making fun of this fact in the ending credits – “Date Movie” is hoping for a lot of high school and junior high kids. That’s its only chance of survival.
Alyson Hannigan plays Julie Jones, a fat girl who is desperate for a date. After visiting a micro-Hitch (Tony Cox), she’s pimped out as a sexy young woman. Soon, she meets the love of her life, Grant (Adam Campbell), and they go through the tumultuous tasks of getting engaged, meeting each other’s parents and finally getting married.
Come to think of it… that’s quite a bit of plot for a crummy date movie.
Hannigan is adorable in the film, which has made me hope for some more starring roles for her. She manages to get out of the dorky flute girl from “American Pie” image while still doing the slapstick and low-brow comedy. Campbell is less desirable, looking really goofy with his hairstyle and not quite making the grade with the physical comedy.
The real gems of the film are comedy veterans Fred Willard, Jennifer Coolidge and Eddie Griffin. With the cast assembled, the acting is quite good. However, the films is really nothing more than a series of gags. Sure, critics said that about “Airplane!” when it came out in the 1980s, but its silly plot was still coherent. In “Date Movie,” the gags are its only substance. So, when they work, it’s incredibly funny. However, when they fall flat, it gets old fast.
On a final note, I will say that I am looking forward to the DVD. Having seen clips from the trailers that never made it into the movie, I’m sure that a longer and hopefully unrated version will be released later this year.