"Date Movie": Eight thumbs down

Feb. 22, 2006, midnight | By Justin Vlasits | 14 years, 11 months ago

Root canals are funnier than this overly-spoofed comedy

Lil' Jon making a toast at a wedding reception has propelled the art form of parody into Dante's Ninth Circle of Hell. Sadly, this scene was the high-point for "Date Movie," a film that could easily have been made by a lobotomized monkey with a pair of scissors, glue and film reels from Hollywood's last 70 romantic comedies.

Okay, so the director is not trying for originality, considering there are somewhere between 18 and 20 random, unnecessary and just plain stupid movie and television references. This does not even include the cast rendition of a divorce-themed parody of "I Say a Little Prayer for You" by Aretha Franklin, or a Michael Jackson impersonator (Edward Moss) dancing in the background and seducing an innocent little kid.

The "plot" of "Date Movie" centers around Julia Jones (Alyson Hannigan). Upon the advice of a vertically challenged Hitch (Tony Cox), Julia gets plastic surgery so she can enter a "Bachelor"-type reality show and win the heart of Grant Fonckyerdoder (Adam Campbell). Julia and Grant immediately fall for each other and go through all of the stages leading up to a wedding: meeting the parents, getting jealous of the ex, breaking up and getting back together.

Unfortunately, the film lacks the intelligence that made classic spoofs like "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" and "High Anxiety" insightful and hilarious looks at Hollywood and its films. Instead of incorporating the signature elements from films into what was already a coherent plot, "Date Movie" throws more movies into their editing food processor than Wolfgang Puck could ever imagine. Movies should never have to be compared to "Iron Chef: America."

It is not surprising that "Date Movie" is the directorial debut of the unfunny pair of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (who co-wrote "Scary Movie"). What's next for Friedberg and Seltzer in this series? With such originally titled films, the two might consider "Sports Movie" with Kevin Costner and Adam Sandler, "Gangster Movie" with Tony Soprano or "Gangsta Movie," starring another reincarnated Tupac. Or maybe the granddaddy of them all, "Movie Movie," where there is no new filming but instead three-second clips of every movie ever made, from "Birth of a Nation" to "Brokeback Mountain."

Maybe that's being a little too harsh for the directing duo, seeing as they are only trying to give people a good laugh. It is a little refreshing to see a movie where people try not to take themselves too seriously. No one finds true love nor are there star-crossed lovers torn apart by warring families. That's not to say the film is realistic: 390-pound women cannot go into an auto-body shop and come out supermodels. The film reinforces the same racist, sexist and gay stereotypes as the romantic comedies it supposedly satirizes, from the flamboyant, daisy-duke donning servant Eduardo (Mauricio Sanchez) to Mrs. Fonckyerdoder (Jennifer Coolidge), a very Jewish sex counselor, to the excruciatingly large bottomed Latina wedding planner.

"Date Movie" tries to be groundbreaking because it ignores these taboos by showing obscene images of women of "girth" or personal displays of affection that should most definitely remain personal. But there is no meaningful discussion or symbolism that says anything about how these stereotypes came to be or why they are so detrimental. "Date Movie" is too over the top to be taken seriously, not cohesive enough to be funny and certainly not interesting enough to be worth watching.

"Date Movie" (83 minutes in area theaters) is rated PG-13 for continuous crude and sexual humor, including language.

Justin Vlasits. Justin Vlasits is a CAP senior who enjoys It's Academic, baseball, guitar and frisbee in addition to watching weird movies and contemplating the meaning of life. Justin is also a revolutionary member of SGR and will someday overthrow oppressive capitalism all over the world. More »

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