69°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Date Movie – The Longest Commercial I’ve Ever Seen

One maxim of the theatrical world I’ve encountered and tend to disagree with is: comedy is harder than tragedy to perform well. This is an area where the difference between theater and cinema becomes very apparent. A filmmaker has many opportunities to coax what he wants out of a comedic scene. The theatrical player has one. Suffice it to say, if comedy is in fact harder to perform than drama, it is nevertheless easier for the director of a film than that of a play. This knowledge seems to amplify the agony a bad comedy movie, leading us to the subject of this article, Date Movie. Alas! Poor Date Movie, I knew you too well.

Date Movie begins and ends with parodies of other, notably successful, films of the past few years. After running out of fingers and toes I stopped being able to count the movies which Date Movie glossed or directly referenced: Napoleon Dynamite, Bridget Jones’ Diary, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Star Wars, Meet The Fockers, Lord of the Rings, Mr. & Mrs. Smith (not Hitchcock’s), Pretty Woman, Kill Bill, Dodge Ball, Jerry Maguire, As Good As It Gets, etc., etc. The list goes on for so long that it feels like “two of the six writers from Scary Movie” never turned off their televisions long enough to contribute any of their own material to their screenplay. I suppose the title of a film should suggest something of its creativity. Can’t say they didn’t warn me! And so it was that the only pleasure I derived from Date Movie was trying to keep count of the pop-culture references. It certainly banks on tickling couch potatoes with its endless asides to television, the internet, ipods, and mobile phone manufactures. The film plays as one long commercial for Hollywood and popular culture to the effect that its characters dissolve right back into the silver screen-and I like Eddie Griffin!

At one point in the film its lead character Julia Jones (Alyson Hannigan) says, “I know I’m no beauty, but I’m not going to settle.” Date Movie is no beauty, and it never settles. It never settles down, it never settles on its own story, it never settles on where its characters should stand, when they should speak, or how they should act. There is so much obscene and grotesque humor that the producers of Date Movie should have settled on filming the whole thing in a bathroom. I never would have thought that I would encounter necrophilia and bestiality in a PG-13 movie. However, to the group of 13 year old boys a few rows away from me, it appeared a marriage of true minds and they laughed to their hearts content. Let me not admit impediments to those wishing to attend Date Movie. Some, like those intrepid youths there at the movie, will laugh endlessly at the black hole that is the hour and ten minutes of Date Movie. Others will find themselves needing a shower to wash off the guilt they feel after having watched a homeless man being beaten by the lead characters of a children’s movie.