Judge Patrick Naugle is allergic to alcohol, so we gave him beer to write this review.
Do you recognize me? I used to be a respectable citizen. I had a good job and a promising future. I made only one mistake. I went on a blind date. Anyone got $10,000 for bail?
Walter Davis (Bruce Willis, Die Hard) is a numbers crunching accountant who doesn't have much of a social life. Walter's brother, Ted (the late Phil Hartman, Saturday Night Live), decides to help him out when a party pops up on Walter's calendar that could mean big business with the arrival of Mr. Yakamoto (Sab Shimono, Waterworld), a high profile client who could mean good things for Walter's career. Ted's answer: a blind date with the gorgeous Nadia Gates (Kim Basinger, L.A. Confidential). Aside of dealing with Nadia's insanely jealous ex-boyfriend (John Larroquette, Night Court), Walter must contend with another issue: alcohol. Namely, Nadia's consumption of it, which makes her lose any and all inhibitions, turning Walter's night into a living hell. As the evening wears on, Walter and Nadia stumble from one misadventure into another…until they realize that the worst date of their life just may be the perfect recipe for falling love.
As hard as it is to believe there was actually a time when Bruce Willis wasn't a bald, dour geriatric who looks like he's sleepwalking through most of his movies. Willis got his start on TV's Moonlighting, a comedic drama about two private eyes who find themselves in all kinds of wacky misadventures. Even when Willis played hero John McClane in the Die Hard series, he retained a playful glint in his eye. That glint has never been more present than in 1987's Blind Date.
Blind Date starts off innocuously enough with the lead characters meeting up for a date. However, once Walter gets a bit of alcohol into Nadia, things go from bad to horrible in only a few short minutes. From a disastrous dinner with a potential client and his concubine to angry run-ins with Nadia's ex, the script runs the gamut from "out of the frying pan" to "into the fire." Although the movie isn't always laugh-out-loud funny, it's genial entertainment that makes the viewer smile more often than not.
Directed by Blake Edwards (The Pink Panther) from a screenplay by Dale Launer (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Blind Date is the epitome of madcap zaniness. Edwards is no stranger to screwball comedy and his deft touch is all over this film. It certainly helps that he has Bruce Willis and Kim Basinger in his corner, both game for whatever the screenplay throws at them. At this point in their careers neither actor was known as for their comedic chops. As Blind Date wears on it's clear that both actors are having the time of their lives; Willis as a frantic man seeing his life evaporate and Basinger as a drunk who does damage to anything she touches.
The movie gets a boost from the supporting cast, not the least of which is John Larrquette as Nadia's insanely jealous ex-beau; Larroquette's fits of rage brighten up the movie whenever he appears onscreen (usually running into a building filled with paint, pets, or explosives). The late Phil Hartman plays Walter's sleazy brother, a brief but funny character that only hits home the fact that Hartman's presence in movies is sorely missed. Boy Meets World's William Daniels has a small role at the end as a judge who spars with Larroqutte, making for the best scenes in the movie.
Blind Date isn't one of the best comedies of the 1980s (by a long shot), but it is enjoyable enough for me to recommend. Although some of the scenes boarder on the ridiculous (an extended sequence as Walter looks for Nadia in the house is too silly for its own good), Blind Date clearly wants to just make the viewer laugh and little else. In that regard, it succeeds.
Presented in 2.39:1 widescreen in 1080p high definition, this Sony catalog title (released by Image) looks very good for its age and budget. The picture quality isn't perfect but does feature solid colors and dark black levels. There's a thin layer of grain that gives the movie a very filmic quality that is pleasing without being distracting. The soundtrack is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo in English. There isn't a lot of dynamic range to be found on this mix. The biggest boost comes from both Henry Mancini's film score and the pop songs by Billy Vera and the Beaters. Also included on this disc are English subtitles. No extra features have been included on this disc.
Blind Date is cute and amusing with fine performances by Bruce Willis and Kim Basinger. Fans will be thrilled to see this mid '80s flick in high definition.
Worth taking out.
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