February 18, 2006

Movie Review: Date Movie

"From 2 of the 6 writers of Scary Movie." That promotional line begs the question, "but does that mean it's good?" Considering how bad the Scary Movie franchise has gotten, and that they were involved in writing all three films, it certainly doesn't help.

As you have probably guessed, or bludgeoned with, the fact that this is a spoof on other recent films. If stringing together some bad Saturday Night Live or MadTV sketches together is funny, then I must not have much of a sense of humor. Granted, you don't see a movie like this for its story, but I would like it to be more consistently funny. It seems, for the most part, that spoofs that are coming out now lake the timeless nature of spoofs gone by. The focus is too much on directly copying scenes from other films and taking them to the next level, whereas in the past they focused more on clich├ęs and genres, and less specifically with cramming in as many film references as is possible.

The plot, such as it is, concerns a lovesick young woman, Julia, who is worried that she may never find true love. She finds her love, and is thrust into every popular comedy of the past few years, and even a few older ones. Julia snags her man and has to defend her relationship from the last object of his affections, and current best man (er, woman).

Amongst the movies targets are Napoleon Dynamite, When Harry Met Sally, The Wedding Planner, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Meet the Fockers, Hitch, and Bridget Jones' Diary. The problem with these spoofs is that rather taking what was so funny from those scenes and wrapping them up in a creative mesh of reference and freshness, we get a virtual reproduction of said scenes. The latter just isn't that funny.

The writing and direction are a mess. The jokes are telegraphed ahead, dragged through town, beaten to death, and then tossed at the screen in some shoddy stretched out form, in a rapid succession, in the hopes that something will stick. The actors are just there, exhibiting very little life, probably realizing just what a piece of junk they are in.

I will say that there are two good things in this movie. The first is the lovely and adorably Alyson Hannigan, she just lights up the screen, and I hope that she survives this and is able to get better roles. She is a good actress, although here she just seems tired with this expression of wonder, most likely trying to figure out how she got roped into this. Despite the lack of quality, I did find her to be a highlight, giving me something to look at in an attempt to avoid the rest of the dreck onscreen. The other good thing is Tony Cox(Marcus in Bad Santa) as a mini-Hitch, this guy is a riot and is able to take the lame setups and make them work for him.

Bottomline. Save your money. This is an early leader in the worst of the year race. Aside from Alyson's charisma, and Tony Cox' ability to control a scene, there is nothing to see here. I long for the days of spoofs like The Naked Gun, Spaceballs, and even the first Scary Movie.

Not Recommended. * / *****


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