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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Alyson Hannigan, Adam Campbell, Fred Willard, Jennifer Coolidge
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Jason Friedberg, Allan Seltzer
MPAA RATING
Rated PG-13
RUNNING TIME
90 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
20th Century Fox
 "Date Movie" Review 
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Do you enjoy the "Scary Movie" films? Are you able to suspend any semblance of intellect you may possess? Can you appreciate the "throw everything at em'" approach to comedy recognizing that only half of it will be even remotely amusing?

If so, then you are likely to find enjoyment from "Date Movie," the latest attempt to turn Alyson Hannigan into a movie star beyond the "American Pie" films and outside of her television notoriety.

"Date Movie" does to romantic comedies (and a few other films) what those "Scary Movies" have done to horror films. Taking a nearly identical approach, "Date Movies" is basically a series of spoofs wrapped around a paper thin plot and ludicrous storyline.

Alyson Hannigan portrays Julia Jones (Yes, she keeps a diary), an overweight and insecure closet romantic (Big Fat Greek Wedding) who dreams of meeting her knight in shining armor and being beautiful. A handsome man named Grant Fonckyerdoder (Adam Campbell)(do I smell Meet the Parents AND Meet the Fockers? Yes) enters her father's restaurant and, well, we spin off into a series of nonsensical, but frequently funny scenes with the inevitable and predictable successes, failures, goofiness and happy ending.

Hannigan, to her credit, "gets it." She's acutely aware this is not groundbreaking comedy or an award-winning film. She offers Julia the same endearing mix of sexiness and sweetness that she brought to her American Pie role. (I will confess to harboring a long-term crush on Michelle). Hannigan gives her character a certain charm and surrenders to the goofiness enough to let the audience just have fun with it. How goofy does it get? We have Eddie Griffin portraying her father and Indian actress Meera Simhan as her mother. Griffin, who as of this film has yet to display anything resembling acting range, does a take-off of the DeNiro role in "Meet the Parents" down to the actual recreation of more than one scene from both "Meet" films. This works because "Date Movie" goes a step beyond in creating these scenes in spoofs that I simply won't spoil here. Are they necessarily unique? No. They are, however, funny.

"Date Movie" is directed by novice directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer who, not so coincidentally, scripted the original "Scary Movie" and have writing credits for creating the characters in the sequels. Much like the "Scary Movie" films, there are significant hits and misses in the film, however, the film moves at such a brisk space that it's easy to let go of the failures.

While it would be nearly impossible to declare "Date Movie" a success, one has to admire the balls of a film that manages to spoof both "Kill Bill" and "Dodgeball" within 30 seconds of each other. Much of the film is rather low-brow, tasteless humor but that's really the point. Yet, despite the tastelessness, the film is rated PG-13 and there's very little within the film that can be considered offensive...gross? Yes, but not offensive.

The film spoofs in "Date Movie" are obvious and easily recognizable, even for those who don't necessarily frequent films. Spoofs range from the obvious romantic films such as "When Harry Met Sally" and "Say Anything" to recent faves such as "Wedding Crashers," "40-Year-Old Virgin" and even "King Kong." There are the predictable rips on Michael Jackson, the Olsens, Britney and other celebs and, well, you get my point.

Supporting players such as Fred Willard, Tony Cox and even current Razzie nominee Carmen Electra all perform nicely here in basically recreating caricatures of performances they've done before.

Friedberg and Seltzer also wrote the script and, quite honestly, their script is better than their direction. The concept, the ideas and the cast all deserved a better product than is finally produced here.

Some critics have already dismissed "Date Movie" as being worse than "Bloodrayne." Quite simply, they are wrong. While it is not an overwhelmingly successful film, "Date Movie" is immeasurably better than the Boll debacle because it achieves a greater result with much less. It is not, by any means, a well made film, however, it is a comedy that made me laugh. Mission accomplished.

Only true fans of the "Scary Movie" films or of Alyson Hannigan really need to consider this a film to be seen in a theatre. It will be a mindless, entertaining way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon while stuck in the house once it is released on DVD.

"Date Movie" is, ultimately, the kind of film that will give you quick laughs that will fade just as quickly once you leave the theatre. Here I am sitting in my home writing this review less than one hour after viewing "Date Movie," and already I am struggling to remember what I found so funny. 
 
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic
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