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50 First Dates(2004)
Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore star together for the first time since The Wedding Singer in one of the funniest romantic comedies in years. Henry (Sandler) lives an enviable life in a Hawaiian paradise, spending every night with a beautiful tourist in search of an island fling. It's a sweet life with no strings attached...until he meets Lucy (Barrymore). He and Lucy hit it off from the get-go, but the next day she acts like she doesn't know him. Has his karma come around to kick him in the butt or what? Actually, Lucy has short-term memory loss so every night all memory of her day is erased. But a man in love will go to any lengths to win over the girl of his dreams, and if that means having to find imaginative ways of doing it over again every day, then Henry's up for the challenge.
For more about 50 First Dates and the 50 First Dates Blu-ray release, see 50 First Dates Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on July 3, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Rob Schneider, Sean Astin, Dan Aykroyd, Peter Dante
Director: Peter Segal
» See full cast & crew
50 First Dates Blu-ray Review
This Blu-ray launch title still holds up well several years later.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, July 3, 2009
Lucy does the same thing every day.
50 First Dates is one of those rare films that bends it genre, exceeds expectations, and touches the heart and soul with its pure depiction of a love that knows not just the boundaries of the body but finds a home in the mind, heart, and soul, where it belongs, where it grows, where it thrives. Billed as a Romantic Comedy but more of a Drama with humorous undertones, 50 First Dates seems an almost one-of-a-kind movie that truly understands love and all that implies. Most other movies of its kind begin with a dream and end with a proclamation of "love," whatever that may be to suit a story, usually defined, cultivated, and solidified with a look, a touch, a kiss, a spark, some sort of connection that more often than not seems far too superficial to be real. 50 First Dates sees love at its most fundamental, the act beginning where others end with a physical attraction, a glance, the rapid beating of the heart, but here ending with an appreciation, an understanding, an unbreakable bond, an unwavering need to foster goodness, spiritual growth, emotional balance, mental health, and physical happiness in another, in a true soul mate, where physical or even mental handicaps are not a hindrance but a blessing to reinforce the ties that bind and fill the soul with the joys of love -- real love -- anew with every dawn.
Hawaiian Henry Roth (Adam Sandler, Reign Over Me) preys on female tourists, winning them over for quick trysts and disposing of them with lame excuses as he begins the search for the next girl. His life changes forever when he meets Lucy (Drew Barrymore, Music & Lyrics), a local beauty, at a diner. They hit it off instantly and agree to meet each other again at the same place and at the same time the following day. Fearing that his womanizing days may be over, Henry tries to recapture his swagger later that evening but sees only visions of Lucy in his mind. The following morning Lucy is there again in the diner -- but doesn't remember Henry at all. Henry soon learns that an accident has robbed Lucy of her ability to create new memories, and with the help of her father Marlin (Blake Clarke) and brother Doug (Sean Astin, Rudy), she's been reliving the day before her accident over and over again. No matter how hard Henry tries, he cannot seem to recapture that spark of their first chance meeting. When Lucy's family takes note of Henry's sincere interest, they choose to help him create a world for Lucy that will, hopefully, allow them to fall in love all over again everyday through a series of reminders as to how their relationship has progressed over time. As the two fall deeper in love, with Lucy trusting only her instincts, personal journal, and videos created by Henry and Lucy's family and friends, only the specter of her inability to make new memories stands in the way of the perfect relationship.
As alluded to earlier, 50 First Dates plays out more as a Drama and a Romance with a sprinkling of Comedy here and there. The drama and romance work well, but the laughs are hit-or-miss. Fortunately, however, the misses aren't too terribly annoying, a few failed jokes and physical gags overshadowed by not only the humor that works but also the film's surprisingly strong emotional core. 50 First Dates is very well-acted, with Sandler, Barrymore, and Clarke playing their parts with a strong understanding of the film's deeper meaning and the challenges of meshing the emotional content with the humor. The film's best scenes come not from the jokes or even the romance but from how Henry and Lucy's family deal with her problem that, in a way, recalls Groundhog Day. The methodical way of life that Marlin and Doug not only live but also embrace for Lucy's sake is often framed with a comical slant but also manages to come across as incredibly poignant at the same time. Their love for her, like Henry's, is selfless, wanting only the reward of keeping Lucy happy through, at first, a blissful ignorance of her condition and sparing her the daily stress, shock, and regret that comes with each revelation of her accident. Whether re-watching the same Minnesota Vikings game time and again or painting over the garage that Lucy paints with flair and energy on a daily basis, both the condition and the lengths her family goes to protect her from its harsh realities engender a sense of sadness but also hope that Henry can somehow, some way, discover perhaps not a cure for her trauma, but at least create in her a spark of recognition that someday may allow her to live a complete, satisfying, forward-looking, happily-ever-after life.
50 First Dates Blu-ray, Video Quality
50 First Dates recalls the early days of the Blu-ray format, delivering an MPEG-2 encoded 1080p, 2.40:1-framed transfer. A satisfactory image but not quite up to the standards of today's better releases, 50 First Dates never looks bad but rarely looks great. On the whole, the image is clear, crisp, and abundantly colorful, the latter quality the transfer's defining attribute. Colors are natural, bright, and many, the movie awash in plenty of "happy" hues that define the tropical locale. As to the rest of the transfer, it's fairly stable though it does take on the occasional soft, fuzzy shot that stands out from the rest of the otherwise sharp and well-defined imagery. Detail appears adequate throughout in the foreground, but oftentimes background imagery, particularly trees and foliage, seem to clump together into globs of matter and color. The film features minimal grain and noise and the print is generally free of any troublesome anomalies. Flesh tones and blacks suffice throughout. Not a fabulous transfer but not a particularly troublesome one, 50 First Dates shouldn't disappoint.
50 First Dates Blu-ray, Audio Quality
50 First Dates features a high quality PCM 5.1 uncompressed soundtrack. The score's tropical beats play with lifelike clarity that pour out of the speakers with room-filling goodness. These beats dominate the track and are often accompanied by a subtle low that adds just the right amount of heft from the low end. The soundstage is surprisingly active in several scenes; sound swoops across the listening area several times, for instance some trouble aboard Henry's boat that sees lines and sails breaking and falling. A rainstorm in chapter four features a downpour heard across the front, but several rumbles of thunder reverberate through the entire soundstage with a pleasing, realistic flair. Otherwise, the soundtrack is primarily dialogue-driven and never falters in that area. A basic soundtrack but an effective one, particularly for a Drama-Comedy, this uncompressed offering serves 50 First Dates very well.
50 First Dates Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
This Blu-ray release of 50 First Dates features a few bonus features, beginning with a commentary track featuring Director Peter Segal and Actress Drew Barrymore. This one is sure to please fans; Barrymore and Segal share a fine chemistry, playing off each other's comments both serious and humorous. Amongst some funny anecdotes are more standard discussions on shooting locations and techniques, the actors and their characters, special effects, the romance and themes, and more. Also included is Talkin' Pidgin (480p, 4:55), an introduction and guide to the Hawaiian slang as heard in the movie. Concluding this brief supplemental package is a gag reel (480p, 7:05) and 1080p trailers for Hitch and Into the Blue.
50 First Dates Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
50 First Dates is one of the few films that actually gets it. Love isn't just about momentary happiness, physical pleasure, or whatever culture decides it should be to suit a time, a place, or a philosophy. Instead, it was, is, and always will be about absolute understanding, compassion, and devotion to someone not to reap any tangible reward but to satisfy another completely, to grow in togetherness, to nurture the soul, to challenge the mind, to ease the burdens of life not with a hollow "it will be all right" but instead with a touch, a look, an unending understanding between two become one that always offers a hand, a shoulder, or a lap that never wavers in its strength of character, tenderness of heart, or steadfastness of soul. It's the constant desire to please, to nurture, to understand, to care for all the right reasons, all for a reward that comes from within rather than from without, and only with the truest of intentions, the purest of hearts, the most worthy of souls will one ever come to know love as it was meant to be. 50 First Dates offers a true love story awash in the real meaning of the word, a journey that sees its hero come to understand that love is not a given but rather a gift, is not a word but way of life. One of the best of its kind for all the right reasons, 50 First Dates might not impress in every facet of its existence, but it certainly excels where it counts. Sony's Blu-ray release of 50 First Dates holds up well after several years. Though encoded in the antiquated MPEG-2 video codec, the image never falters too badly. The lossless soundtrack is a strength, and the supplements are few but worthy of the release. Enthusiastically recommended.
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