Warning! This site contains satire, cynical adult humor, celebrity gossip, and an occasional peanut by-product or two!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Date Movie

The mid-February blues have set in. The studios out in La La Land are burning off their cheapest films figuring that the rest of the country is either snowed in or so desperate for an escape from their homes that they will come see anything. That pretty much explains Date Movie, a modestly amusing parody of a dozen other movies that were fairly suspect in the comedy department to start with.

As usual, I didn't let the 70 mile per hour winds keep me from blowing into my usual seat in the top row of the theater showing Date Movie at the Essex Cinemas. I was greeted by my favorite concession queens, Lan and Nancy, who were anxious to know about the movie themselves. I promised a full report and settled in just as the lights dimmed. Apparently my IQ was also supposed to dim at the same time. I must have missed that in the advertising.

Date Movie has little plot of its' own. It is allegedly a tongue-in-cheek poke at romantic comedies
, much like Scary Movie milked laughs from the horror genre. Here we have Julie Jones (Alyson Hannigan, of tv's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") as an overweight young woman who keeps a Bridget Jones's Diary of her daily existence. She happily emerges from her apartment in search of male companionship and as she dances down the street she is met with screams, stares, and a workman who puts a nail gun to his head and kills himself rather than envision so much as sharing a kiss with a fat girl. All this before the opening credits are finished rolling. Yes, this is going to be high-brow humor all the way.

Before you know it Julie is seeking help from Hitch (Tony Cox, Bad Santa), who at first says even he can't handle a case like hers, but then decides to take her to some of his homies, where she is "pimped out" by mechanics as they would redo a car. Before you know it, the 350lbs Julie is magically turned into a svelte beauty that is instantly ready to compete on the tv show "Extreme Dating/Desperate Edition" where she falls for Grant Fonckyerdoder (Adam Campbell). The two immediately fall in love and within a week are to be wed. Before this, of course, Grant must Meet The Parents. For some odd reason the writers, Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg (Scary Movie; Spy Hard) thought having the red-headed, very Irish-looking Hannigan in the role of a Greek waitress with parents played by African American comedian Eddie Griffin and Indian actress Meera Simhan as well as having her sister played by Japanese actress Marie Matiko would be inherently funny and add something to the movie. It doesn't. It just seems tired.

After meeting the Jones', then it's time to Meet the Fockers, or in this case, the Fonckyerdoders, which really does include some funny scenes thanks to old pros Fred Williard (Best in Show; Waiting For Guffman) and Jennifer Coolidge (
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events; American Wedding), doing their best to mimic Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand from the original film. When they are on-screen (and not nearly enough) the laughs don't stop.

From here the film takes a sudden turn into My Best Friend's Wedding Territory when Grant's best friend from boarding school shows up. Andy, of course, is actually 'Andrea', played by Sophie Bush, a drop-dead gorgeous model, who spends an inordinate amount of time in slow motion and very little else grinding, writhing, and looking sensuously at the camera to let us know she wants Grant back. And she is willing to be as naked as it takes to make that happen.

The plot isn't much, but the fun of Date Movie is identifying the movies being spoofed. There are a lot of them, and not just newer ones. An entire minute the film is spent recreating the infamous 'orgasm scene' from When Harry Met Sally, which must have come out about the time most of the target audience for this film was being conceived. From there we get visual jokes about regurgitation, flatulence, bestiality, crossdressing prostitutes and even a constipated condom carrying cat. In other words, it is a junior high school extravaganza of bad taste or someone has gotten into my home movies again without asking permission.

Don't get me wrong. I did laugh at Date Movie. Seltzer and Friedberg take aim all
over the map, and as low-brow as the humor is, it hits the mark as often as not. Their mimicking a scene from Mr. & Mrs. Smith was cute and a dead-on replica of the original in look and tone while The Wedding Planner played by Valery M. Ortiz as a Jennifer Lopez look-alike with an enormous rear-end was too silly not to bring a giggle. Unfortunately, these laughs come as much from embarrassment as true humor and make for a sparse comedy over-all unless you happen to actually be on a date. In that case, you probably aren't paying that much attention to what's on the screen anyway and won’t notice this little flaw.

I hated to disappoint Nancy and Lan, but by the time I had walked from the theater to the concession stand I had already forgotten most of the movie, which says a lot about the impression it made on me. Maybe that's the secret of "good" movie making. You dazzle them with so much at once they have to come back over and over again to catch it all. I guess I'll have to make a return trip to the Essex Cinemas later this week to check out my theory.

No comments: