I hate to steal something from someone else’s review, but I can’t sum up the problem with this movie any better than Eric D. Snider of ErikDSnider.com: “This would-be spoof of romantic comedies falls prey to the misconception — common in modern American humor — that to make reference to something is the same thing as parodying it.”
Because that is precisely what Date Movie does. It simply references movies without actually parodying them.
The sad thing is, the funniest scene in the movie, is the opening sequence where Alyson Hannigan, sporting the obligatory fat suit as they “parody” Jack Black’s Shallow Hal, dances around in the streets to Kelis’ sexy tune “Milkshake.” Which incidentally is also the trailer. Everything goes downhill from there.
The general gist of the film is Alyson Hannigan, a Greek, Indian, Japanese, Black Jew is having trouble finding her “Prince Charming,” quite obviously because she is not the most beautiful of women. Her father (played by Eddie Griffin) wants her to marry someone who is of her same descent, and somehow manages to have someone in mind: a greasy disgusting employee of their restaurant named Nicky who’s so dirty he’s got a rat in his ass crack. But Julia (Alyson’s character) refuses. She insists she has to wait for true love – her prince charming. And she finds him -kind of.
She meets a guy who’s eating in the restaurant and she feels like they have a connection, but as soon as she turns her back he disappears – she assumes because of the way she looks but it’s really because she hit him in the head with a coffeepot and he fell to the ground. You’re laughing, right? Yeah, I didn’t either.
So she goes to Hitch, (subtle, right?) a matchmaker played by little person Tony Cox (Bad Santa) who takes her to get “pimped out” (“parodying” MTV’s Pimp My Ride). They wax her back hair, saw down her toe nails, and suck out her fat. Julia is now a beautiful girl. Eventually she finds Grant (played by newcomer Adam Campbell), they fall in love, have sex, get engaged, and antics ensue.
One of the biggest problems with Date Movie even before anyone wrote a single word of it onto a page, is simply the concept itself. The Scary Movie movies (which I love, by the way) work because they’re making fun of movies that were meant to be taken seriously. It doesn’t quite work when you’re trying to make something funny that was already funny in the first place. There’s no need to make a joke out of a romantic comedy — it does the jokes for you — IN the film.
With that said, there was still a possibility for a half way decent film here. The obstacle being: the jokes just went too far. In almost every scene in the movie, they’d make a joke – I’d laugh, and them expect them to move on. But they didn’t. They’d just keep going with the same joke for another 2 minutes, going way overboard to point of ridiculousness, and I’d sit there getting annoyed and feeling patronized, which would immediately make me forget that a second ago I was actually laughing. Just make the jokes a bit more subtle (we get them, trust us), and you’d be fine.
Case in point: In one scene where they try to make fun of the Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy The Wedding Planner, Julia and Grant go see a wedding planner whimsically named Jello who has a ghetto Spanish accent and has a ridiculously large ass. We all immediately get the joke. It’s supposed to be Jennifer Lopez … and Jennifer Lopez has a big ass. It’s funny. Okay, move on with the scene. Jello them describes to them what she has planned for their wedding and says “I have a performer in mind too”. She knocks the desk over with her oversized butt, the desk breaks, she strips off her suit to reveal a skimpy gold outfit, and then starts shaking her ass in Julia and Grant’s faces, slowly moving it closer and closer to them while they scream in horror. The scene ends.
Yeah…I’m not laughing either.
The film makes fun of dozens of movies, When Harry Met Sally, The Wedding Planner, Meet The Parents, Meet The Fockers, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Hitch, My Best Friend’s Wedding, and many others. And again, unlike the Scary Movie films, they failed to weave the different films together into one script successfully. Everything seems choppy and shabbily put together. It’s almost embarassing.
Basically, Date Movie is in no way worth the $10.75 (at least that’s what it is here in Manhattan). It attempts to make fun of many popular romantic comedies of the past two decades, but unfortunately for the filmmakers, I much prefer the originals.