All about… Date Movie

Ally Melling

The worst of the worst: Just skip this ‘date’

Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Grant (Adam Campbell) and Julia (Alyson Hannigan) undergo marriage counseling in Date Movie. PHOTOS COURTESY OF 20TH CENTURY FOX”>

In a spoof of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Grant (Adam Campbell) and Julia (Alyson Hannigan) undergo marriage counseling in Date Movie. PHOTOS COURTESY OF 20TH CENTURY FOX

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

There are two main comedic categories: “smart comedies” (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou) and “stupid comedies” (Happy Gilmore). Both types then branch off into “success” or “failure.”

Then there are the absurd comedies that totally bomb.

Date Movie

Starring Alyson Hannigan, Adam Campbell and Eddie Griffin

Written and directed by Jason Friedberg and

Aaron Seltzer

Distributed by 20th Century Fox

Rated PG-13 for continuous crude and sexual humor,

including language

Stater rating: ½*

Below those bombs lies Date Movie.

Date Movie tries to sell itself with parodies and gimmicks from start to finish, even endorsing the tagline: “From two of the six writers who brought you Scary Movie.” But all these pitiful efforts only reassure the audience that the real talent lies with the other four writers.

In this “romantic comedy,” Julia Jones (Alyson Hannigan of “Buffy” fame) starts out as an obese, ugly duckling with a yearning for love (like Ryan Reynolds’ character in Just Friends). She forsakes her serving job at her family’s Greek restaurant and tries a little self-improvement to find the man of her dreams (you guessed it: My Big Fat Greek Wedding).

Things go well for Julia when she wins the heart of Grant Fonckyerdoder (Adam Campbell) on reality television (after a rather violent selection process), and they become engaged.

As you can imagine, things get bumpy when parents meet each other (in an over-embellished Meet the Fockers tribute) and a sultry ex shows up to steal the groom-to-be.

How could this possibly not be funny, you might ask. Everyone loves a good parody, as proven by the tremendous “Family Guy” support that brought the show back from the grave.

But herein lies the problem: a good parody.

In Date Movie, references are given to a generous array of popular movies. Hints of older romances such as When Harry Met Sally and Say Anything are mixed with more modern favorites such as Bridget Jones’s Diary and Wedding Crashers. There are even sequences stealing from action films from King Kong to Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

What could go wrong?

The humor of Date Movie is like going to see an Eddie Murphy movie and then finding out it is made by Disney. You walk in hoping for Beverly Hills Cop but leave with the taste of Dr. Dolittle in your mouth.

Some of the references are outdated and beaten like a dead horse (such as this cliche).

Julia’s wedding planner, Jell-O, sports a ridiculously large, multi-tasking ass. Yes, we all know by now that J-Lo has some junk in the trunk. Yes, Michael Jackson has become creepy. We get it, but it is not funny anymore.

Other parodies are pushed so far into ridiculousness that they are torturous to watch.

The mischievous cat from Meet the Parents is reincarnated in Date Movie with mind-numbing potty humor and unamusing puppetry. The fight scene between the Bride and Elle in Kill Bill is horrendously drawn-out.

The rest of the jokes in Date Movie are plainly not funny, such as Julia’s first date where she and Grant beat up a homeless man (ala Bumfights) for amusement. Shamefully, such an act could have gotten a laugh if done right.

Also regrettably, the first three worthwhile minutes of the film with the Napoleon Dynamite rip-off are tragically cut too short.

The only positive aspect of Date Movie is the acting.

Despite 80 minutes of droning, dim-witted screenplay, each actor shows a sincerity and believability that helps the audience shy from suicide. The actors could almost be condoned, Hannigan and Campbell especially, if we could forget they initially agreed to be in this film.

When will filmmakers learn the art of the parody is a fragile thing?

Simply throwing actors into one widely recognized reference after another does not deserve an automatic chuckle or applause for effort. A successful homage to our culture demands smarts within absurdity, a unique vision and a sense of timing, among other things. All of these elements are missing from Date Movie.

To say the film’s writer/directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer have fallen a long way since the Scary Movie series is not saying much. But, I implore you, don’t fall into their mindless, insulting audience stereotype by going to see this film – just watch the trailer.

There are some movies that should never have been made, and they are all better than Date Movie.

Contact ALL correspondent Ally Melling at [email protected]