Date Movie

Date Movie

*

Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

When Wes Craven's Scream (1996), a witty postmodern take on the slasher sub genre, was chosen as principal target for the horror spoof Scary Movie (2000), the result was a bunch of cheap scatological gags that showed little appreciation, either of horror in general, or of Craven's more subtle brand of horror parody in particular. Date Movie, a spoof on romantic comedies, has come from Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, two of the six writers on the original Scary Movie, and it is plagued by similar problems, being far less smart and often less funny than the films it ridicules.

Were she not so irrepressibly perky, tubby singleton Julia Jones (Alyson Hannigan) would long ago have despaired of ever finding her Prince Charming, but then she meets eligible Brit, Grant Funkyerdoder (Adam Campbell), and after some advice and a makeover from a diminutive Date Doctor (Tony Cox), she is on course to marry the man of her dreams, except that first her demanding multi-ethnic family and his ultra-liberal Jewish parents have to get along, and there is the small matter of Grant's hot ex-girlfriend Andy (Sophie Monk), who is determined to wreck the wedding plans.

Copy picture

Date Movie is a pastiche of familiar scenes from rom-coms, such as Bridget Jones Diary, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Hitch, When Harry Met Sally, My Best Friend's Wedding, The Wedding Planner, Say Anything and Sleepless In Seattle. Along the way it also lampoons films that barely qualify as romantic comedy (Meet The Parents, Meet The Fockers), or are entirely unrelated to the genre (The Lord Of The Rings, Napoleon Dynamite and King Kong, as well as television's The Bachelor, Pimp My Ride, Bumfights and various music videos).

Anyone wanting to see this kind of scatter-gun approach to popular culture at its most effective should stick to TV's The Simpsons; in Date Movie there are few well-observed insights into the cliched mechanics of the rom-com, let alone into the state of the culture. Rather, there is an arbitrary string of film references, supposedly amusing merely for their (excessively sign-posted) recognisabiliy and regularly punctuated by tedious gross-out "punchlines" about bodily functions.

Everything is reduced to a bathroom level, and if the household cat in Meet The Parents was already trained to take a tinkle in the toilet, here it is depicted (at great length, and then for a second time in a gratuitous flashback near the end) farting and shitting with animatronic abandon. Any film that can make Meet The Parents seem restrained must have something PROFOUNDLY wrong with it.

So inanely puerile is Date Movie that it fails to score any hits on its intended target. This is comedy at its most dumbed-down, which might be excused but for the fact that it is also painfully laugh-free.

In Australian slang, the word "date" denotes an arsehole; and sure enough, that is just what Date Movie will make you feel like.

Depressing.

Reviewed on: 24 Feb 2006
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Date Movie packshot
Scary Movie scribes take on the rom-com, with lavatorial enthusiasm
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Anton Bitel *
Anton Bitel *

Director: Aaron Seltzer

Writer: Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer

Starring: Alyson Hannigan, Adam Campbell, Sophie Monk, Eddie Griffin, Meera Simhan, Fred Willard, Jennifer Coolidge, Marie Matiko, Judah Friedlander, Carmen Electra, Tony Cox, Mauricio Sanchez

Year: 2006

Runtime: 83 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US

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