Sunday, February 22, 2004

"i laughed! i cried! no, i didn't actually laugh! but i did almost cry!"

Through an odd concurrence of events, I saw the film 50 First Dates. It was one of the most peculiar cinematic experiences I have ever had in my life. Granted, I don't see that many movies and have not seen any Adam Sandler films except for Punch-Drunk Love, which I saw precisely because of reviews claiming it was an outlier for him. Anyway, I probably thought there were about 8-10 funny moments in the entire film, in contrast to maybe 150-200 painfully unfunny "funny" moments piled on top of one another throughout . It's one of those comedies that has a large ensemble of peripheral characters who are supposed to be providing comic relief, and none of them are funny. Rob Schneider delivers a Spectacularly Unfunny performance as Sandler's neo-Cheech-ish native Hawaiian best friend, and he spends many of these scenes with these five sassy children who have lines that are completely predictable and completely unsuccessful in their efforts to amuse. And Schneider is still less unfunny than either of the other supporting cast members with large roles: Sean Astin and this gender-ambiguous Scandanavia-accented character who caused me to wince every single time s/he uttered a line. So, anyway, 75% of the time I was watching this film I was marvelling at how stupid and subsitcom it was.

But, the peculiar thing: amidst all this falling-flat comedy there are like a five or so scenes in the film that are genuinely moving. As in, starting-to-feel-your-eyes-welling-up-with-tears-moving. You begin to feel like you are watching a movie with Some Emotional Weight, and then the scene would be over and the inanity would resume.

As an entirely different matter, the film did validate my long, often lonely, argument that the Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice" is a great song and, along with "God Only Knows," easily the best in the otherwise insipid Beach Boys' oeuvre. Indeed, I downloaded both just now from the iTunes site.

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