Fox // 2006 // 85 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 5th, 2006
Funny "ha-ha" or funny "I didn't blow my brains out all over the sofa?"
The latest in a line of rapid-fire spoof movies, Date Movie lampoons recent romantic comedies in hopes of eliciting a mere chuckle -- or perhaps a snort -- from you, the hapless audience. Good luck with all that.
Our story involves Julia Jones (Alyson Hannigan, American Pie), a big-boned redhead, desperate to find herself a man. But her unflattering physique has kept her from pursuing the guy of her dreams, Grant (Adam Campbell). But after a meeting with relationship dynamo Hitch (Tony Cox) and a visit to a custom auto body shop, she emerges a sleeker woman, and quickly garners the attention of her main squeeze.
The two embark on their romance, and what unfurls is a series of parodies from movies like Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers, The Wedding Planner, and probably a few more romantic comedies I didn't recognize. Fred Willard and Jennifer Coolidge show up, too.
Then some other stuff happens and none of it is remotely funny. The end.
If I can manage to convince just five of you to avoid this movie like it was a carrier of the bird flu, then I would have exceeded my expectation of doing good works on this planet. Date Movie is one of the worst films I have ever endured, and that is not hyperbole. There are bad movies. There are horrible wastes of time. There are head-scratchingly awful projects that you have no idea how they got green-lit. If these descriptions reside on a sliding spectrum, Date Movie's classification far, far, far outruns them. I don't have the words or the creative energy to succinctly label its degree of putridity.
Date Movie is bad in a malicious way. It is a parasitic organism, sapping away your life for 80 minutes and giving you in return nothing but the humorless conceits of people who think a cat farting for two minutes straight is comic gold.
Normally I try to see the silver lining in sub-par movies. But it's not going to happen in this review. I resent this movie. Deeply. I hate that the main emotion it evoked from me was embarrassment -- shame directed at everyone involved with this cinematic clot and the besmirching it will most surely put on every one of their future job applications.
"So, Mr. Campbell, we were all set to hire you for that part-time chum shoveling job, but we noticed you were in Date Movie. Sorry, we've given the job to a pedophilic wino. That movie f***ing sucked."
The jokes not only fail, but fail in spectacular, space-time-continuum-shredding fashion. And it's not necessarily individual gags that misfire (which they all do), but the basic premise of what "parody" means. Scenes from popular films are "spoofed," but the fatal mistake that the writers have made is that they recreated the scenes almost to a T, throwing in a minor twist at the end. For example, in the extended Meet the Parents riff, we go through that whole cat-milking routine, the payoff being Julia's father lifting his shirt showing eight nipples and delivering the parodied movie's punch-line verbatim: "Can you milk me?" This is typical of the satire throughout the entire movie, from an excruciatingly long Kill Bill take-off to even more Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers scenes (again, done just like they were in the real film, just with a few stabs at jokes). Then there's the opening bit with Mad TV's Josh Myers doing a Napoleon Dynamite impersonation that your local neighborhood kid does just as well. (The joke, there? Myers is wearing a shirt that says "Don't Vote for Pedro." Get it? "Don't Vote for Pedro!")
All that's happening here is that Date Movie constantly draws attention to two things: 1) there is not a nano-liter of original humor to be found so the filmmakers had to reside to cheap shot pop culture gags and, 2) we're reminded that the parodied movies are infinitely funnier than spoofs. Dudes, parodying comedies just doesn't work!
Look, that's all I want to write about the substance of the movie. Just stay the hell away, okay? Date Movie is like that poorly shaven idiot from your freshman dorm who thought he was the funniest guy ever because he could recite lines from Monty Python and the Holy Grail and all you really wanted to do was kick him in the throat with a steel-toed Timberland.
The DVD presentation, though, isn't half bad. The technical bases are covered, with a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that's clean and robust and the 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is loud, though it does of course provide the vehicle for delivery of the horrible jokes, so screw you Dolby.
In the bonus barrel, you get three commentary tracks, a cynical, almost melancholy effort by writers Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg, another from cast members Alyson Hannigan, Adam Campbell, Sophie Monk, and, finally, something I've never seen before, a commentary featuring critics Scott Foundas and Bob Strauss just ripping on the film. That last one is dubbed an "anti-commentary;" it's quite impressive to see this feature included as these two guys are merciless. In fact, the cast members seem like the only commentators not about to eat a bullet. The rest of the extras: some unfunny deleted scenes, some unfunny parodies of Peter Jackson's production diaries, some pointless featurettes (Date Movie in six minutes? I wish), and throwaway bits like a trivia game, auditions, and screensavers.
I managed a chortle just once in this whole, dreary affair. It happens in the beginning, when Hannigan is dancing around in a fat suit on the street and a terrified construction worker points a nail gun to his head and pulls the trigger. It was amusing at the time because I thought "Who would ever do that because they were watching something horrible?" Now it's the most realistic thing I have ever seen in a movie.
Guilty. Lock its ass up in a box full of spiders and starving hyenas, blast it with napalm, and airlift it to a volcano for immediate disposal.
Review content copyright © 2006 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Writers Commentary
* Cast Commentary
* Critics "Anti-Commentary"
* "Making of a Spoof"
* "On Dating"
* Deleted/Extended Scenes
* "Andy's Cherry Surprise" Game
* "The Quickie: Date Movie in Six Minutes"
* Optional Laugh Track