Feb 182004
 
Authors: Jeremy Anderson

“50 First Dates”

As hard as it can be to get someone to fall in love with you in

the first place, imagine having to do it each and every day of your

life. This is the predicament that Henry (Adam Sandler) is faced

with after meeting Lucy (Drew Barrymore), a girl with no short-term

memory who he has just fallen in love with.

Lucy was involved in a car accident that left her with an

inability to recall new memories once she falls asleep. She can

remember everything leading up to the accident, but anything new,

including meeting Henry, is wiped clean by the time she wakes up

the next morning.

No one could handle this premise better than Sandler and

Barrymore. “The Wedding Singer” proved that the two have great

chemistry together, and that is one of the best things “50 First

Dates” has going for it. They are so good together that it kind of

makes you wonder why they aren’t together off-screen.

There are more implausibilities and holes in the plot than maybe

should be forgiven, but it’s hard not to smile at this fun and

romantic comedy. Sandler’s movies tend to mix crude laughs with

moments of surprising sweetness, and this film is no exception.

Some lovable marine animals help boost the cuteness level to a new

high.

Not all of the jokes are funny and not all of the characters,

each one quirky in their own way, were necessary, but if you can

avoid dissecting the high-concept plot too much, there’s a lot to

like about “50 First Dates.” The picturesque Hawaiian setting and

tropical soundtrack add to the mood of this often funny, often

touching and always-enjoyable movie.

3 out of 4 rams

“21 Grams” (R)

In 2001, director Alejandro Gonz�lez

I��rritu made one of my all-time favorite films,

“Amores Perros,” an incredible Spanish language film about three

strangers and how their lives are impacted by a pivotal car crash.

Now in 2003, it premiered last November, comes

I��rritu’s newest film, “21 Grams.”

“21 Grams” is practically an Americanized version of “Amores

Perros,” as both films share the same basic plot and use a

nontraditional narrative flow. While I��rritu’s new

film isn’t quite as remarkable as its predecessor, it is still

pretty great.

Sean Penn, Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro star as three people

whose lives are changed after a tragedy links them together. Each

gives great performances and Watts and Del Toro have been nominated

for Oscars.

My only complaint with “21 Grams” lies with its pacing. The film

is incredibly bleak and depressing and so its sporadic moments of

slowness make it that much harder to swallow. All it would take to

make this film close to perfect would be if 15 minutes or so were

shaved off its run time.

That is just a small quibble though, considering the power and

craftsmanship at work in the majority of the film. “21 Grams”

probably won’t leave you with a smile on your face, but it will

leave you affected. The film has a completely nonlinear storyline,

but I��rritu expertly crafts the movie so that the

plot is engaging and surprisingly easy to follow.

3.5 out of 4 rams

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