While I loved the chemistry between Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer, I couldn’t stand them as a couple in 50 First Dates. Mostly because all of their interactions in this “romantic comedy” made me incredibly uncomfortable. Then again maybe I’m just old-fashioned in the sense that I believe stalking a disabled girl isn’t sweet or funny. Even if she does have perfect beach waves and an adorably bad singing voice. In case you got into a car accident (see what I did there?) and forgot what happens in this movie, let me tell you. Just so you too can cringe your way through this movie the next time that it’s on.
Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) is a womanizing veterinarian with approximately one to two friends. A smart dude who’s also a chick magnet? It’s almost as if Adam Sandler produced this movie and cast himself as the perfect man. Oh wait, he did. While stopping by a local restaurant one day, he meets Lucy Whitmore (Drew Barrymore). He falls in love with her because no male protagonist can resist a free spirit with good skin. But twist, when he returns to commence flirting with her the next day, she has no idea who he is. Zoinks!
The restaurant owner explains to Henry that she got into a car accident on October 13th, 2003 and suffers from a rare type of amnesia where she wake up every day thinking that it’s October 13th, 2003. Rather than deal with her problems, her father and brother just go along with the October 13th thing. It’s way too annoying, I mean emotional, to sit Lucy down every day and explain to her that it’s not October 13th. A normal guy would feel bad for her and move on because she’s clearly not in a place in her life where she’s capable of having a healthy relationship. Henry’s not a normal guy, so he instead goes on fifty dates with her…except they’re all first dates since she NEVER remembers him. As you can probably imagine, many, many hijinks go down as Henry tries to re-meet Lucy every day.
Then finally, one day, Lucy sees a newspaper and realizes it’s not October 13th and all hell breaks loose. She insists that her family takes her to the doctor so she can hear her diagnosis straight from him. And he gives it to her straight and is all, “Lucy, you’re fucked, forever.” Meanwhile, her brother Doug’s attempting to get some attention from his family by openly asking questions to the doctor about his steroid addiction. Obviously it’s played for laughs, but WHAT? I know that your daughter’s going through some stuff , but your son’s about to one up Ashlee Simpson when it comes to unabashed cries for help (see the lyrics to “Shadow” for more info on that).
Instead of just going ahead and committing Lucy, Henry decides to force her into falling in love with him by making her a video that she can watch each morning. “Hello Lucy,” it says, “you’re permanently disabled from a car accident and you’ll spend the rest of your life waking up confused. But on the upside, you’re in love with me! Don’t like me? Well, we’ll try again tomorrow.” While her father has a few hesitations, he’s also really sick of taking care of his adult daughter, so he lets Henry do what he wants.
This plans works really well until Lucy decides that it’s not fair to anyone in her life, including herself, that she be forced watch a video each day that reminds her how much her life sucks. So she commits herself to an institution that’s staffed with professionals used to working with amnesiacs. Then the movie ends there because that’s as happy of an ending as we’re going to get. NOT.
Henry’s a selfish dickhead (also, still a sexy veternarian) and he wants Lucy to live with him. So he convinces himself that it’s good for her to come live on a boat with him in the freezing cold waters of Alaska. “My,” you might say, “that sure is far from Hawaii, the place she thinks she’s waking up each morning.” Whatever. Henry has research to do. And if Lucy wakes up one morning and doesn’t like it, she can go to bed and literally forget she was angry. The only real problem Henry has to deal with each day is that he impregnated Lucy and forced her to have a child. Which means she spent several months waking up with a human inside of her and not understanding why. It also means that she’s going to spend the rest of her life being addressed as “Mom” and not getting why some kid’s calling her that. Let’s not even get into the fact that the kid’s going to have some MAJOR issues. “Well Mr. Therapist, my mom had to be reminded who I was every single day. One day our VCR broke and she couldn’t watch her tape and she tried to kill me because she thought I was an intruder.”
While it sucks that Lucy has no memory, it sucks even more that Henry took total advantage of the situation by marrying her, moving her and making her raise a child. Then again, what else can you expect from a suave veterinarian who’s best friends with Rob Schneider.
You can read more movie reviews from the ’90s and ’00s by checking out Retro Reviews.