50 First Dates50 First Dates on DVD

For the first time since 1997’s The Wedding Singer, Adam Sandler teams up with Drew Barrymore for a lighthearted romantic comedy that does a good job of combining funny stuff with mushy stuff.

Henry Roth (Sandler) has a great life as a marine mammal veterinarian, spending every night with a beautiful tourist in search of a one-night-stand in paradise. He’s the "typical male," avoiding commitment and not wanting to grow up.

One day he stops for breakfast in a local diner, and he sees Lucy (Barrymore). Initially he feels he wants to have a fling with her, but soon realizes he longs for more.

Things get more complex when he approaches her a second time, only to discover that she apparently doesn’t remember him. And it appears she doesn't like him much this time around.

As it turns out, Lucy suffers from short-term memory loss; she’s unable to transfer new memories into old memories. So she lives every day exactly the same (because she thinks every day is the same day), unaware of her predicament. Part of the problem stems from her father and brother coddling her situation, but they're doing what they believe is best for her and are hardly villains.

Henry’s not used to having to work for a girl, but he’s up to the challenge. If he has to woo Lucy every day for the rest of their lives, so be it.

The biggest problem seems to be coming up with new ideas every day.

Can Henry get around Lucy’s affliction so the two of them can still live happily ever after? Probably, or else we don’t have much of a movie.

As a typical Adam Sandler movie, 50 First Dates offers a few good laughs but strikes a few wrong notes as well. You can’t help but think a few jokes would work better had they done them another way, but there are still enough good ones to keep things moving along.

Sandler and Barrymore have excellent chemistry, although the movie isn’t nearly as cute and cuddly as their previous effort. Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) turns in a likeable supporting performance, and what Adam Sandler movie would be complete without Rob Schneider playing a quirky foreigner?

It’s not the best Sandler movie to date, but fans of his earlier films will probably find enough in 50 First Dates to keep them entertained for 99 minutes. Likeable characters, great chemistry, and some good chuckles make it worth checking out.

The Blu-ray disc is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen, and the picture quality is better than most movies of this type. The picture is very clean with little grain to speak of, and the colors feature rich greens and blues (which comes in handy in film set in beautiful Hawaii), with excellent fleshtones. Contrast is very good, and the picture overall displays a sharp, detailed appearance, with real depth. releases.

Sony has released the audio in uncompressed PCM 5.1 surround (with a Dolby Digital 5.1 option), and it is very good, though this movie doesn't really have a soundtrack that'll leap out of the speakers at you. But the dynamic range is great and the overall mix is warm and natural-sounding. There isn't a lot of surround, though.

They do give you some extras, though, including a screen-specific commentary with director Segal and stars Sandler and Barrymore, with Barrymore only showing up once in a while (which may not be a bad thing since she doesn't add a lot anyway).

You also get a blooper reel, a "Talkin' Pidgin" featurette on the local lingo and the "Seamless Menu Navigation" feature that lets you access the menus without leaving the feature.

50 First Dates, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
99 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.40:1) PCM 5.1 uncompressed
Starring Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Rob Schneider, Sean Astin and Dan Aykroyd
Produced by Jack Giarraputo, Steve Golin, Nancy Juvonen
Written by George Wing, Directed by Peter Segal

Jim Bray's columns are available from the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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