Thursday, July 20, 2006

DATE MOVIE - I repeat, what were you thinking?!

Back in February 2006 I shook an angry fist at the viewing public for pushing the god-awful spoof flick DATE MOVIE to the top of the UK Box Office charts. I didn't even review the movie - i just wanted to bury the traumatic experience deep within my subconscious. The whole torrid mess was brought to my attention, however, when Doctor007 rented the movie last night. Now, I appreciate that picking a date movie for a chick who watches a lot of movies anyway will present certain problems for your average guy. And, being a Man of Science, Doctor007 is a pretty literal-minded person - hence the choice of DATE MOVIE. But dear Lord, just how was I gonna break it to him?

In fairness, I approached the screening with an open-mind, not wanting to hurt the Good Doctor's feelings. I submerged my horror at finding that the DVD had a FREAKIN' LAUGH TRACK! I mean, Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ, a movie has to be pretty sucky for the frickin' production team to give you the option of artifically adding a laugh track to substitute for your own deathly silence. (Actually, it wouldn't be silence but the deathly gnawing sound of me hacking through my own neck with a blunt cheese knife.) And then I noticed that the DVD had an alternative commentary given by two movie critics. This seemed pretty perverse. After all, the DATE MOVIE studio had stopped critics seeing the movie before it opened precisely to stymie bad press. You've got to love the chutzpah of the marketing man who actively promotes the suckiness of a DVD by inviting the critics to throw brickbats at the screen. It's almost like the studio is trying to say that DATE MOVIE is so bad, it's good.

It's a scoundrelous move, no doubt. But the admirably weasle-like nature of the plan cannot alter the fact that DATE MOVIE is so bad, it's just bad. And when I say "bad" what I really mean is "a blight upon the landscape and perhaps definitive proof that evil exists in the world." The attempt of the studio to co-opt the opposition is particularly telling because it goes to the heart of why the movie sucked so badly.....

DATE MOVIE sucks primarily because it is too soft on its targets. All good spoofs should have some bite (preferably into the gelatinous ass of studio hackery). But DATE MOVIE clearly has a warm-hearted appreciation of the genre it is supposed to be excoriating. So we get a series of scenes that vaguely resemble the source material - but a bit more exaggerated - and that alone is meant to be funny. Well, boys, here's a newsflash, you need more than brand recognition to raise a laugh out of me. If you want to see a good spoof, just check out BAD SANTA - that sends up Christmas and family movies with a vengeance that borders on psychotic. Awesome.

The second reason DATE MOVIE sucks is because it is spoofing a genre that is already meant to be funny. (Although, people who were subjected to FAILURE TO LAUNCH may disagree.) Most of the time, watching scenes in DATE MOVIE just reminded me how much more fun I had watching genuine comedies, such as NAPOLEON DYNAMITE or WHEN HARRY MET SALLY. Successful spoofs such as the AIRPLANE films, or even the first SCARY MOVIE, are funny because they mock genres which take themselves seriously. Rom-coms are of their nature fluffy pieces of disposable pop culture. Spoofing a rom-com is like taking something that is already ADD and breaking it down into even smaller chunks - a complete waste of time.

Of course, the final and fatuous thing to say about DATE MOVIE is that it just isn't funny. This is a subjective thing, and as I said in my February post, it did well at the box office so maybe I am way off track here. But still, I didn't laugh once, and that is something of a first, considering the movie stars comedy greats from
Eddie Griffin to Fred Willard to Jennifer Coolidge. My only conclusion is that writer/director Aaron Seltzer is a numskull and should be hung, drawn and quartered for crimes against cinema.

Is there anything good that I can say about this steaming heap of horse manure? Well, hard as it is to believe, it could be worse. Doctor007 could have hired
DEUCE BIGALOW: EUROPEAN GIGOLO* instead... So, he is on reprieve for now, but another mis-step and it could soon be the end of a beautiful relationship...

DATE MOVIE was released globally from February 2006. It is now available on Region 1 and Region 2 DVD, but seriously, you would get more value for money entertainment by feeding your hard-earned cash a quarter at a time into a skee-ball machine. *The DVD not the hooker.

1 comment:

  1. This move does indeed just truly suck hard .. after it ended, I just felt dirty for watching it