Eye For Film >> Movies >> Date Movie (2006) Film Review
Reviewed by: Chris
A few years ago some people got the idea of making a spoof of horror movies by stringing some of the better known cliches together in a kind of story (Scream). Well, they didn't exactly think of the idea. It had been done better and before on a tiny budget by the anti-establishment filmmakers Troma, who parodied Hollywood relentlessly and achieved cult following.
The Scream series appealed to a certain crowd that enjoyed spotting takes on scenes from their favourite horror movies, delivered with Hollywood polish and humour. The films had a certain panache and were reasonably gripping at first, but by Scream 3 and Scary Movie 3, the joke was wearing thin. Some of the writers/directors/producers decided to milk it a bit further and try a parody of date movies, but the formula doesn't appear to work very well for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the movies on which this film relies contained reasonable humour and romantic tension - varying from superficial to award-winning. Date Movie, on the other hand, is rarely funny, even when it is trying the "joke that is so awful it's laughable" routine. As good parody, it loses any strength it might have had by making the films it spoofs too obvious, even dressing and making up the actors to look like the stars. The resultant lack of subtlety means there is no satisfaction in guessing - it can only call on gross-out humour of the American Pie variety. The problem with this is that the extreme attempts at coarseness lose their impact early on for the lack of a storyline and also this type of overt toilet humour repels the very audiences that went to see the original rom-coms. Date Movie is anything but a date movie.
It also pushes bad taste in a way that I struggled to justify. TV's The Office parodied politically incorrectness and obnoxious behaviour in a way that eventually made the viewer feel uncomfortable about it, achieving its aim with ingenious writing which won it a string of Baftas and Golden Globes. Date Movie has none of the self-consciousness of The Office, or even the Troma movies, such as Tromeo And Juliet, Toxic Avenger or Terror Firmer. Even if the lampooning of overweight, ugly and midget people doesn't upset you, the callous scene where the happy couple play a romantic game of gleefully beating up a homeless man may raise your hackles to the point where you find it difficult to forgive the filmmakers. I had to search to find what this was supposedly parodying. Apparently it is a direct-to-video DVD called Bumfights, one of the rare films banned these days by the BBFC.
I must admit that the following night, after consuming several pints of very strong lager, I found myself laughing almost uncontrollably at the memory of blonde bombshell Sophie Monk doing a Don't You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me routine to upset the newly to-be-weds. But with that amount of alcohol probably Chicken Little would have had me in stitches.
A last dregs possibility for a drunken lads night out, Date Movie fails on most other levels and is hardly the film to take your date on, unless you are both pissed, fed up with romantic comedies and find each other's loud farts hilariously funny.Reviewed on: 01 Mar 2006