Julia Jones has never been very lucky in love. In fact, she has not even been close. And the only one who will listen to her woes is her diary, and a three foot tall man named Hitch. With the help of Hitch, Julia is primed and ready to make her way towards her destiny of finding her long lost prince charming, but not without a few bumps along the way. In this buffet to lingerie tale, Julia finds her match in Grant Fonckyerdoder, a doctor whose ability to see that beauty is more than skin deep is a refreshing change for the young maiden. But their love is not supported by everyone, especially Julia’s father and Grant’s delightfully sexy ex-fiance Andy, who will stop at nothing to break up the wedding and steal Grant back for good. In the end Julia and Grant find their way back to each other, but not before running their way through countless date movie parodies and short-witted humor.
In the world or satire, there is dark satire, there is parody, and then there is this… I like to call it “trying too hard.” The filmmakers of Date Movie, I am sure, set out with the noblest of intentions. They sought to poke fun at the already humorous and sometimes cheesy world of romantic comedies. And much like films like Not Another Teen Movie and Scary Movie, they achieved a level of humor suitable for any college student who has recently smoked a dubious amount of marijuana. Unfortunately when it comes to making an interesting, and/or intellectually stimulating experience this film falls significantly short due to it’s inability to move seamlessly between parodies. The cheap low-blows on the romantic comedy genre only added to the fact that the film seemed rushed, as if the filmmakers had too many good ideas and not enough money to buy more time with the Panavision Camera. For instance there is a scene being parodied about Meet the Fockers, in which Fred Willard and Stiffler’s mom, aka Jennifer Coolidge play the wacky parents of Grant. The scene is cut short only to take us to the office of Jello, the wedding planner with more than enough junk in her trunk. Then we are bounced right back to the antics of mom and pop Fonckyerdoder, only to be left in the dark by a My Best Friend’s Wedding-esque sing-a-long scene which includes an untimely cameo by none other than Lil’ Jon…?
From the standpoint of storytelling, Date Movie gets it’s laughs across, but never really seems to keep you yearning for the next cruel and repetitive joke. It is almost as if you are sitting in the theater, enjoying your overpriced Snowcaps and “only a quarter more” uber-sized dose of sugar water waiting for this movie to get funny. And then it ends.
While this really isn’t much of a story, it is meant to be the tale of Julia, played by the awkward comedic genius of
Alyson Hannigan, and the over-the-top Hugh Grant wannabe Adam Campbell. Hannigan delivers another seemingly innocent depiction of the girl who is more on the inside than she is on the outside. Similar to her character from American Pie, she is nearly schizophrenic as she battles between the chubby, self loathing version of Julia, and the slim, sexy go getter who chases down and brutally tackles her dream of being swept off her feet by her own Prince Charming. In the end, she is the reason this movie delivers any laughs at all. Her facial expressions and natural innocence are the right ingredients to bring humor to an otherwise off-key affair. The supporting cast is a familiar one, including Anchorman’s Fred Willard, Eddie Griffin, and Mrs. Stiffler herself, Jennifer Coolidge, whose role in these types of movies seems all too redundant. While overall the performances of Date Movie were tolerable, I still think that it was the story that flushes this poop humor down the metaphorical toilet.
Behind the Scenes
Visually the film achieves a moderate level of intrigue. It is shot much like every other parody that I have ever seen, which detracts from any quality that may have previously existed. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is surprisingly fitting. One notable highlight is the rock ballad that rolls right into a play on the Darth Vader theme song during the transformation of Julia montage. Creative to say the least.
The Final Cut
I do not find it difficult to see why this film was not initially screened for critics. But that just goes to show the admission on the part of the filmmakers that they knew what kind of movie they had made. It will ultimately find it’s place, on DVD and shoved underneath the bed of your average college dormroom. And while it is not a film that will compete for Oscar’s grace, it will find it’s audience and make people laugh. A word to the wise: if you didn’t like Scary Movie, you will not find much else to laugh at here.
Alyson Hannigan is attractive and has great natural comedic timing.
This one seems to be on the verge of being hilarious. And then it ends.
On the Side:
When Julia gets on a motorcycle to speed across town and meet her love, the stunt rider is a large black man. Hopefully this goof was intentional, though it was not funny at all.