Date Movie Review

What is the point of Date Movie? It wants to be a film parody, in the tradition of Airplane! and Scary Movie but the films it's trying to parody are comedies. Romantic comedies to be specific but comedies all the same. Parody involves putting a comic spin on something. You can't put a comic spin on comedy.

Example: Date Movie contains a spoof of the dinner table scene in Meet The Parents where Ben Stiller tells Robert De Niro he's milked a cat and then spills the ashes of his dead mother. How do you go about spoofing a scene whose only purpose is to make you laugh? As far as the makers of Date Movie are concerned, you just repeat the jokes and beat them into the ground until you ruin them. Remember Robert De Niro saying, "I have nipples Greg. Could you milk me?" If De Niro had pulled up his shirt to reveal eight nipples, would that have made the scene more or less funny? I believe less. Watching this film is like watching rejected outtakes from the films it's spoofing, with different actors in the parts.

This is a mistake that's been made before. In 2001, Not Another Teen Movie tried to make fun of teen comedies like She's All That and Bring It On with equally dismal results. That film did at least have the distinction of being slightly better than one or two of the films it satirised - the awful Drew Barrymore vehicle Never Been Kissed comes to mind. That's more than you can say about Date Movie. It references at least two dozen movies and there's not a single one you wouldn't have more fun watching. Not even The Wedding Planner. Incidentally the "satire" of The Wedding Planner consists of a Latino woman called Jell-O who has a huge arse. That's it.

The plot, as you'd expect, is just an excuse to run through a selection of famous scenes from rom-coms. Julia Jones (Alyson Hannigan) is a chubby, lovelorn woman - Bridget Jones' Diary - who works as a waitress at the ethnic restaurant run by her parents (Eddie Griffin and Meera Simhan) - My Big Fat Greek Wedding. To improve her luck with men, she visits a date doctor (Tony Cox) - Hitch - who takes her to a garage to be "pimped out" - pimped as in customised, not made to work on the street I hasten to add.

Now she's a sexy babe in a slinky dress, Julia meets handsome bachelor Grant Funkyerdotor (Adam Campbell) on a television reality show and it's love at first sight. Soon they're getting engaged in a jewellery store - Sweet Home Alabama. Julia's parents have misgivings - Meet The Parents - but Grant's folks (Fred Willard and Jennifer Coolidge) are much more enthusiastic - Meet The Fokkers. The real fly in the ointment is Grant's beautiful ex-girlfriend Andy (Sophie Monk), who's out to get her man back - My Best Friend's Wedding.

Date Movie does earn a few laughs, a handful over 82 minutes, although these have nothing to do with any of the films it's satirising. They're throwaway gags, mostly about celebrities, like the Britney Spears joke and the Michael Jackson bit. The latter is in such staggeringly bad taste that I confess I laughed quite loudly at it. The opening dance routine, in which Alyson Hannigan boogies in a fat suit to "My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard" is also amusing but you'll have already seen this in the trailers and TV spots.

The cast is far too good to be wasted in lazy slop like this. Alyson Hannigan is a good sport and a genuinely gifted comedian - she was great as the band camp nerd in American Pie. I'm surprised she isn't in more films. Comic pros like Eddie Griffin (Undercover Brother), Jennifer Coolidge and Fred Willard (both from Best In Show) are shamefully wasted. Coolidge raises a smile when she appears made up like Barbra Streisand but she's given absolutely nothing to do. Sophie Monk may not be in the same league comedy-wise but her gratuitous slow motion entrance in a bikini does offer some form of entertainment value, for half the audience at least.



out of 10

Last updated: 03/05/2018 06:29:20

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