|Date Movie (2006)
Starring: Alyson Hannigan, Adam Campbell, Fred Willard, Jennifer Coolidge, Eddie Griffin
Director: Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer
“Date Movie” is really awful. It’s crude, disgusting, moronic, sexist, and it’s poorly made in every conceivable way. But let’s face it; you already know that. After all, one doesn’t go into this type of movie expecting some kind of spiritual awakening or intellectual illumination. You want to shut your brain down, forget whatever shit is happening in your life, and laugh for a couple hours. When you plunk down eight bucks, you deserve to get the laughs for which you’ve paid your hard-earned money. Well, forget it. The fact is, this movie is just not funny.
I’m sure this movie seemed like a winner on paper to the studio executives at 20th Century Fox. Take two dudes from the writing team of the “Scary Movie” franchise (successful films that have at least generated some genuine laughs spoofing horror movies) and have them write and direct a spoof on romantic comedy films. It should have been a winner. But wow, the results are an absolute train wreck.
The movie starts off with overweight Julia Jones (Alyson Hannigan in a fat-suit) working away her lonely life in her father’s restaurant. Hey, they’re spoofing “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” Isn’t that just droll. Anyway, her father, Frank (Eddie Griffin) wants to marry her off to a disgusting loser, but Julia dreams of finding true love. You see her father is played by a black guy, but Julia’s white. Isn’t that just wacky? Ahem. That’s when Grant Funckyerdoder (Adam Campbell) shows up, but disappears just as quickly. Did you catch his name? Did you? It’s like Focker from “Meet the Parents,” only stupider. Will the zaniness ever end?
You see where this is going. Still, all this could have been funny. There was potential here for sure, but every opportunity is squandered. For example, when the producers finally realized they couldn’t have Hannigan in a fat suit for very long, they created a nice little parody of “Pimp My Ride” to give Julia an extreme makeover, complete with dwarf actor Tony Cox putting on his Xzibit routine. Kind of funny. But then the audience has to sit through 5 minutes of Julia, in graphic detail, getting her back waxed, toenails buzz-sawed, and ass lipoed into mayonnaise jars. That’s not comedy, it’s revolting. As was made clear by more than one audience member running for the trashcans in the hall.
So you’ve been warned. The rest is up to you. You can go to the movie with barf bag in hand, or you can sit this one out. Save the money for beer. At least beer is reliable. Beer never makes you wish you had two hours of your life back. Going to this movie, or even renting it these days, is a direct vote for more of the same from Hollywood. And since forced sterilization is not an option (Hitler found that one out the hard way), send a message with your wallet to drive the hacks responsible for this film out of the movie business.
Fox has a bad tendency of making their DVD releases appear much more interesting than they actually are. Take the single-disc release of “Date Movie.” The back of the DVD cover boasts two columns of bonus material, but it will take you little more than an hour to get through it all. Short featurettes like “On Dating,” “The Fun of Casting” and “Making of a Spoof” are a drag to sit through, while the included gag reel is barely a minute long. The disc also includes an optional laugh track, the ability to watch the film in fast-forward (“The Quickie”) and twelve deleted/extended/alternate scenes, but they’re hardly worth your time. In fact, the only special features actually worth paying attention to are the three available audio commentaries featuring 1) writer/director Aaron Seltzer & writer Jason Friedberg, 2) cast members including Alyson Hannigan &Adam Campbell, and 3) and the “Anti-Commentary” with film critics Scott Foundas and Bob Strauss. The latter track is actually the best of the three, and presents an excellent debate between one man who hated the film and another who enjoyed it for what it was.