50 First Dates (2004)

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Released 5-Jul-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer
Audio Commentary-Drew Barrymore And Peter Segal (Director)
Featurette-The Dating Scene
Featurette-Talkin' Pidgin
Featurette-Comedy Central's Reel Comedy
Outtakes
Featurette-Sandler's New Album
Deleted Scenes-5, With Optional Commentary
Music Video-3
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Trailer-Mona Lisa Smile, Mr Deeds, Groundhog Day
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 95:01
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (50:31) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Peter Segal
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Adam Sandler
Drew Barrymore
Rob Schneider
Sean Astin
Lusia Strus
Dan Aykroyd
Amy Hill
Allen Covert
Blake Clark
Maya Rudolph
Pomaika'i Brown
Joe Nakashima
Peter Dante
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Teddy Castellucci


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Arabic
Bulgarian
Czech
Croatian
Danish
Finnish
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Romanian
Serbian
Slovenian
Swedish
Turkish
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, SPAM!!!
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    There is a general rule with Hollywood film making - if a film is successful, it will get a sequel. Whether good or bad, the fans still come along just to get another dose of their favourite characters. There is, however, one genre that is largely immune to this rule - the romance movie. Action and science-fiction movies seem to receive sequels if more than the usher and his dog turn up to screenings of the first film, while epic dramas played out over generations are the cause for many a sequel, and the various teen movie genres were tailor-made for sequel production - but not romantic drama and romantic comedy. Why? Well, mostly because the drama and/or comedy comes from the process of the couple (or in some cases couples) falling in love. The uncertainties and insecurities, the will-they-or-won't-they tension all leads to something that an audience can latch onto. If sequels were to be made, all that natural interest would be gone. The only option left open to a sequel is to put the relationship in jeopardy, and short of a life-threatening illness (which tends not to go down too well in comedies), any trip down that path will sour fans' opinions of the first movie (after all, these movies are almost always about someone finding their one true love - if that love was flawed, then what was the point?).

    But never let it be said that Hollywood has passed up on a "guaranteed thing" - industry types devised a way to get people to come back for more of the same, even though it isn't really (the same, that is). Take the two leads from a previously successful romantic comedy, put them into a new movie with new characters, and the audiences will come back to watch them fall in love all over again. The "spiritual sequel" is not new - Rock Hudson and Doris Day made a successful tactic out of it in the late 50's and early 60's, and since then there have been many partnerships, not the least of which have been Meg Ryan with both Billy Crystal and Tom Hanks, and Hugh Grant with his foppish hair-do (okay, maybe not). The latest pairing to come back for a second helping is Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Hitting the big-time with the 1998 effort, The Wedding Singer, which cruised to a frighteningly large box-office, the pair have never really had the same level of success in their own right since (even Drew Barrymore's driving role behind the Charlie's Angels franchise has still left her third in the interest stakes behind her two more high-profile co-stars). When the script for 50 First Dates presented a chance for the two to work together again and try their hand at regaining some of the magic that made their first film so successful, who were they (or their agents) to pass it up?

    50 First Dates sees Adam Sandler playing Henry Roth, an Hawaiian veterinarian working at a sea-creature theme park (the kind with dancing dolphins and the like), making the most of Hawaii's status as a premier tourist destination to have a series of short-term relationships with beautiful women looking for some fun on their holidays. One day his ideal world is thrown into turmoil when he meets local girl Lucy Whitmore (Drew Barrymore) in a beach-side cafe, and instantly falls for her. Wrestling with his twin desires to see Lucy again yet remain uncommitted, he heads back to the cafe for a second date the next morning - only to find that Lucy has no recollection of him at all. Lucy suffered a head injury and can no longer form short term memories. Every night while she sleeps, she forgets everything she did that day (don't laugh - a psychologist friend of mine tells me with good authority that it is an entirely real possibility for someone to lose their short-term memory, if not for it to be conveniently cleaned each night). Not deterred, Henry resolves to win Lucy over each and every day, and in the process begins to gradually win over her family too. While everything seems to be going well, Lucy is concerned about the stress she is placing on other peoples' lives due to her condition, and starts thinking about going away to a home. Henry, needless to say, is against the idea, and needs to try even harder if he is to hold onto the woman he loves.

    The obvious thing that 50 First Dates does is to invite comparisons to The Wedding Singer, especially as the latter was used in the advertising for the new film. Unfortunately, it is a comparison that does not flatter 50 First Dates. While a competent film, it cannot hold a candle to the earlier pairing of Sandler and Barrymore. On the upside, that is probably the worst thing that can be said about this new film from the two. The first thing to be aware of with 50 First Dates is that as a film it is presented in two parts - a relatively comedic first half, and a more dramatic second half. It is by far not a typical Adam Sandler comedy, with only one gross-out gag in the whole thing. All that is not so surprising when considering the script started life as a pure drama, and only became a comedy when Adam Sandler came on board and decided to re-write it. The two-tone nature actually does suit the film, and coupled with a brilliant performance from Barrymore as the internally conflicted girl with a memory problem, really does tug at the emotional heart-strings in the latter stages. Those prone to becoming emotionally engaged with a movie may find themselves shedding a tear or two - which make the final smiles all the more rewarding in the long run. The film provides good rewatch value, and will likely keep viewers from both genders happy.

    Whether this movie will be enough to prompt Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore to join forces for a third time only time will tell, but for now, those looking for a romantic night in, or even just an enjoyable hour and a half with one of Hollywood's most engaging female stars, and an outrageous funny-man in "subtle" mode will find 50 First Dates to be an enjoyable diversion, and a highly recommended rental. A blind purchase is a little riskier, and although fans of Drew Barrymore will probably be satisfied, Adam Sandler fans are advised to rent first.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer presented for 50 First Dates is extremely good, doing nothing to hinder the film's spectacular locations.

    Presented at close to the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this transfer is at 2.40:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is nicely sharp, with plenty of fine detail. Despite this it retains quite a smooth look, which is a pleasure to watch. Grain is non-existent, even on large landscape shots - an impressive feat that really helps bring the spectacular scenery into the film. Shadow detail is excellent with darker scenes showing good depth, never disappearing into murk. There is no shadow detail present.

    Colours are excellent. The lush green Hawaiian vegetation is, well, lush and green, while the colourful clothes are bright and vibrant. Colour is always good, even in outdoor shots with mixed sunlight.

    There are no compression artefacts in this transfer, nor are there any film artefacts. The only issues come with the relatively infrequent occurrences of aliasing. Unfortunately when it does occur it can be quite obvious, such as on the road and safety railing at 39:28, or on Sean Astin's shirt at 38:08 and 50:15 (had he taken Dan Aykroyd's advice and put on a shirt with no holes in it, aliasing would be even less of a problem). The instances of aliasing are quite infrequent and for that reason do not really detract too much from the transfer.

    Subtitles are not completely accurate. They convey the general meaning of the dialogue well enough, but not to the extent of being word-for-word. Unfortunately, many of the comedic aspects of this film will be lost in subtitles, although the more dramatic moments will still carry well enough.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change taking place at 50:31 during chapter 11. It is reasonably well placed, coming on a scene change, but is still noticeable due to the audio drop-out.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer is very good, and surprisingly active for a film in the romantic-comedy genre. That is not to say it would hold up in comparison to any half-way decent action film, but still, it is not a bad effort.

    There are four audio tracks present on this disc. The first three are the original English dialogue track, and dubs in Czech and Hungarian, all presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 448 kbps), while the final track is the English audio commentary track presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround (at 192 kbps).

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. Audio sync is spot on throughout the movie and never causes a problem. These are two quite impressive feats, as the film has numerous location scenes, many of which must have been dubbed, yet the sync is excellent and the dialogue always crystal clear.

    As with most films in this genre, the musical contributions come in two forms - a collection of contemporary music, and the score. The score is provided by Teddy Castellucci and it is a solid effort. It will certainly not leave any lasting impressions, but it is light and breezy and perfectly suited to the mood of the movie. The contemporary music fits in well with the score, and works effectively with the story.

    The surround channels are not exactly aggressive, however they work well enough for the task they are assigned, carrying a reasonable amount of ambient sound, and much of the score. While nothing really to write home about when considered in the scope of the DVD format as a whole, the surround channel use is still far better than in most other films in this genre.

    Like the surround channel use, the subwoofer use is not going to win any awards, but is still provides a pleasing amount of bass, and does far more than most other romantic comedies even dream of doing.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The extras presented here are mostly of high quality and worth watching (or listening to), however the depth is a little lacking.

Menu

    The menu is animated, 16x9 enhanced, themed around the movie, and features Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Audio Commentary - Peter Segal (Director) and Drew Barrymore (Actor)

    This audio commentary is quite good and worth listening to. Drew Barrymore and Peter Segal talk with very few gaps, covering a wide range of topics from story development to production locations to the subtle use of CGI. They are enjoying themselves and are quite a pleasure to listen to. The only thing missing from this track is the presence of Adam Sandler, and while Drew Barrymore is more than adequate compensation, it still would have been nice to have both of them.

Featurette: The Dating Scene (20:15)

    This is the "making of" featurette, and it's actually not all that bad. Fast-paced and presented in an humorous tone, it contains plenty of behind-the-scenes footage, and a ton of interviews, giving a good overview of the background behind the movie. Presented at 1.85:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Featurette: Talkin' Pidgin (4:55)

    This short featurette is a series of interviews with Hawaiian natives about the local slang. Interesting and worth a watch. Presented at 1.85:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Featurette: Comedy Central's Reel Comedy (19:40)

    There is a reason that this disc contains two making-of featurettes - because this one is not altogether good. Presented by Rob Schneider in character as Ula it features extensive interviews with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, but little about the movie itself, and nothing on-set. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Blooper Reel (7:05)

    This is a typical blooper real containing flubbed takes, physical stuff-ups, and other misadventures. It is quite amusing, and good fun to watch. Presented at 2.35:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Sandler's New Album (0:32)

    Basically a TV spot for Adam Sandler's new album. Nothing interesting. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Deleted Scenes (5:05)

    This section features 5 deleted scenes, available individually or as one via the handy "Play All" option. The scenes are available with or without audio commentary from director Peter Segal. Presented at 2.35:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Music Videos

    The following three music videos are available:     All three songs feature Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, with Hold Me Now at 1.33:1 and the other two at 1.85:1. None are 16x9 enhanced.

Filmographies

    There are selected filmographies for:

Trailers

    The following three trailers are available:     The first two trailers are presented at 1.85:1, are 16x9 enhanced, and feature Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The third is presented at 1.33:1, is not 16x9 enhanced, and features Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     Based on this comparison, there is no reason to prefer one version over another. Get it where you find it cheapest.

Summary

    50 First Dates is an enjoyable romantic comedy that, if not as good as the first film to feature Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore together, is still a solid and competent entry into the genre that provides plenty of re-watch value and will keep almost everyone entertained.

    The video quality is superb, presenting the stunning Hawaiian scenery and the even more expensive Hollywood talent with crystal clarity and great colour.

    The audio is more than sufficient, with more surround and subwoofer activity than is usual for films in this genre.

    The extras do seem a little small in number, but they generally make up for that in entertainment value, making a nice bonus package - and could there really have been anything else to say about a film like this anyway?

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Monday, July 19, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-555K, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersRochester Audio Animato Series (2xSAF-02, SAC-02, 3xSAB-01) + 12" Sub (150WRMS)

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Comments (Add)
I LOVED IT - Trevor
Watchable, but too Hollywood-ish - Thudd