Another performance I enjoyed was that of Sean Astin (fresh from saving Middle Earth as Samwise Gamgee in The Return of the King) as Lucy’s funny, lisping, steroid-abusing brother. He and Lucy’s father (played by Sandler movie regular Blake Clark) have taken upon themselves the task of recreating the same day everyday for Lucy so that she doesn’t have to deal with the trauma of her accident. Keeping Lucy from being hurt by the truth becomes their lives, right down to stocking multiple printed copies of that Sunday’s paper and celebrating her father’s birthday over and over again, each time reopening the same present from Lucy (a VHS copy of The Sixth Sense which they then watch and pretend to be surprised by the ending—by the way, if you haven’t seen The Sixth Sense yet, 50 First Dates will spoil the ending for you…just like a certain asshole college professor did for me, but that’s the subject of a whole other run-on sentence).
It was watching this Sisyphus-like daily routine of Lucy’s family as they constantly force themselves to relive the same day that really began to pull me into 50 First Dates. Thanks to clever character-driven story points like this and the charm of the actors, 50 First Dates becomes an above average Sandler vehicle and a great date movie. The smartest elements of the script give the film a Groundhog Day kind of feel that can be quite fun when 50 First Dates doesn’t lower itself to body function “humor”. If you liked The Wedding Singer, this is another mostly-sweet Sandler flick that could be right up your alley.