Where first encounters can lead to close encounters of the worst kind.
Let's go back. Let's go way back. Back before The Sixth Sense. Back before The Bonfire Of The Vanities (thankfully). Even back before Die Hard and its two sequels. Let's go back to when Bruce Willis was just a smirking player on Moonlighting and had yet to become any kind of real movie superstar. What was his breakthrough (well, sort of) role? Walter Davis, the hapless victim of the worst romantic set up in then history of blind dates! Also starring a very young Kim Basinger (L.A. Confidential) and the always amusing John Larroquette (Emmy Award winner for TV's Night Court), Blind Date stumbles its way onto DVD care of Columbia Home Entertainment.
Facts of the Case
Walter Davis needs a date. He's got a big corporate dinner coming up and no one to accompany him. As a last ditch effort Walter is set up on a blind date by his sleazy car salesman brother Ted (Phil Hartman, Greedy). To Walter's surprise he ends up with the stunningly beautiful Nadia (Basinger), a blonde bombshell who seems personable and level-headed. The only warning Walter gets from his brother is to keep Nadia sober; apparently, after one too many cocktails, Nadia gets a little loopy.
The date starts off well as Walter and Nadia get to know each other and take in a recording session of a local blues guitarist. But things quickly turn ugly as Nadia is offered a glass of champagne, which is, of course, her true weakness. As Nadia gets tanked, her demeanor turns from sweet to obnoxious. At the corporate dinner, Nadia gets Walter fired by humiliating a potential Asian business partner and making a general mess of the restaurant. As the night wears on things get worse, including harassment from Nadia's insanely jealous boyfriend David (Larroquette). Will Nadia and Walter be able to survive their night of a thousand woes, or will this truly be the ultimate date from hell?
It had been a while since I'd seen Blind Date. I can remember seeing it back when it first appeared on video and thinking it was a really funny movie. After watching it again more than ten years later, I can safely say that it's funny, but not that funny. Bruce Willis plays his usual smarmy everyman who's caught up in extraordinary situations, though instead of terrorists it's a drunk and destructive Kim Basinger. Willis gives a funny performance as a man caught up in the worst date on the planet. Basinger, looking a bit too 1980s, is cute and cuddly as Nadia, a women who would be a perfect ten if you could only keep alcohol away from her bloodstream. Black Edwards, whose career apparently stalled after the 1993 release Son Of The Pink Panther, has a sure hand with the comedic direction.
Yes, everyone does a fine job in Blind Date except one man: John Larroquette. Larroquette doesn't do a fine job, he does a great job. I'm going out on a limb by saying that Larroquette is easily one of the funniest guys working in Hollywood today. One of my favorite TV shows as a kid was Night Court, and to no surprise my favorite character on the show was Larroquette's D.A. Dan Fielding. Here Larroquette is at his absolute best as a crazed ex-boyfriend who will stop at nothing to get his woman back. Fuming and fussing, Larroquette knows exactly how to produce a mildly funny line into a gut buster. Without Larroquette, Blind Date would have been a somewhat humorous comedy. With him, it rises to become something that much more special.
As for the film itself, the story is just there to hang a lot of pratfalls and gags off of. Lots of bad things happen to Walter and Nadia, which in turn make even more bad things happen to poor old Walter. A lot of the jokes are somewhat contrived, but overall the movie has some creative moments care of Dale Launer's script. By the end of the movie, you'll feel that this whole thing was fluff, but at least you'll be glad to know that it was entertaining fluff.
Blind Date is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Overall, this is a pleasing transfer, though minor imperfections abound. There is some grain in the picture during a few scenes, and some edge enhancement pops up ever now and then. Even so, the color schemes, black levels, and flesh tones look even and bright. Also included on this disc is a full frame version of the film, though the widescreen is highly recommended.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 in both French and English. As usual, the soundtrack for a 2.0 mix is generally flat and void of any depth or true fidelity. Since Blind Date is a comedy low on special effects, a newly created 5.1 sound mix wasn't warranted. All aspects of the dialogue, effects, and composer Henry Mancini's lush music score are free of hiss or distortion.
The only extra feature available on this disc is a theatrical trailer presented in non-anamorphic widescreen (though it's not listed anywhere on the back of the DVD case).
If you're in the mood for a romantic Bruce Willis vehicle, you won't go wrong with Blind Date. It's certainly not the funniest movie around, but it is good for a few hearty laughs—and it includes the always dependable John Larroquette. How can that be bad? Columbia has done so-so work on this title—a lack of supplements is never a good thing (unless it's Battlefield Earth or Glitter…then the less, the better).
Larroquette! Larroquette! Larroquette!
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