Fox // 2007 // 99 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 11th, 2008
There's more to love than meets the eye.
A romantic comedy about a blind man and his quest to find true love. Buckle up for the ride of your life.
Danny (Chris Pine) has been visually impaired all his life and all his life he's worked extraordinarily hard to prevent people from noticing. He's not interested in using a cane or a seeing-eye dog and most importantly, he's not interested in any kind of sympathy whatsoever.
All he wants in life is a real relationship, a taste of authentic love that goes beyond a simple round of sex, no matter how hard his sleazy brother Larry (Eddie Kaye Thomas, American Pie) pushes for lustful trysts with hookers. Nope, Danny wants true love and perhaps has found it with a perky Indian girl. But she too is struggling to find her identity and the couple will go through the typical ups and downs to be expected in a romantic comedy.
I enjoyed Blind Dating. I thought it was charming and packed enough of an emotional boost to push all the necessary romcom buttons. It's riddled with its share of genre clichés and a few major lapses in the common sense (The biggest offender: how come she doesn't tell Danny that she's engaged? Come on now) and works way too hard to be hilarious, but when all is said and done, I'd still slap on a recommendation to this flick for someone in the mood for a boilerplate feel-gooder.
First off, major props to Pine who turns in a touching, charismatic performance as Danny. Not being familiar with the actor, I thought he was actually blind. That's how good a job he does. The making-of featurette reveals how much research he did for his performance and that effort translates with much success onto the film. He transmits the challenges and misconceptions of the impairment with ease and verve and is easily the biggest selling-point of the film. Anjali Jay comes in a close second as the counterpart to the love story, and though the Indian and Hindu culture isn't delved into with extreme depth, there's enough here to give a good sense of the tension her character feels and why she makes some of the (boneheaded) decisions she makes. Everyone else fills minor, unmemorable roles. Thomas's slickster brother is full of cheap gags that don't quite land and Jane Seymour plays a psychotherapist that for some reason that isn't fully explained, walks around in her lingerie during therapy sessions.
This is the major issue I have with the movie and the reason it never quite separates itself from the romcom herd. The writing just isn't that great. As hard as Pine and Jay and even Thomas try, they're constrained by a script that's merely average. The comic elements supposedly play a major role in the film and it's obvious the script is trying very hard to land laughs, but the quality of the humor is too lightweight to generate fits of laughter. Maybe mild convulsions of grinning, particularly during a scene where a carefully choreographed dining experience is set up so Danny's date doesn't realize he's blind goes wrong (thanks again to another dumb character choice), but that's about as funny as things get. The drama portions work much better. Danny's relationship woes and his experience with highly experimental brain surgery that might give him some of his sight back are all handled with far more deftness than the comedy.
Fox issues a solid DVD presentation, with an attractive, colorful 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and a 5.1 Dolby Digital surround mix. Extras are light. The making-of documentary is standard "It was such a joy to work with so-and-so" fare. Deleted scenes and the theatrical trailer round out the offering.
Occasionally clever but charming throughout, Blind Dating succeeds more in the "romantic" than in the "comedy."
Not guilty. Court adjourned.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Making-of Documentary
* Deleted Scenes
* Official Site