Reviewed by: Brett Willis
How can I deal with temptations? Answer
Should I save sex for marriage? Answer
How far is too far? What are the guidelines for dating relationships? Answer
Why are humans supposed to wear clothes? Answer
What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer
|Featuring:||Alyson Hannigan, Adam Campbell, Fred Willard, Jennifer Coolidge, Eddie Griffin|
|Distributor:||Twentieth Century Fox|
“For people who LOVE date movies and people who HATE them.”
I volunteered for this ChristianSpotlight review assignment, and saw “Date Movie” with no prior knowledge of the content. All I can say is, the promo poster showing a box of tissues, implying that it’s a sad three-hanky romantic comedy-drama, is just a misleading gag. I’ve only walked out of maybe a half-dozen films in my life. Had I not been on assignment, I’d have been sorely tempted to walk out of this one. The paper-thin romantic plot is primarily a vehicle for parodies of other films, often taking off-color or gross content from those films and altering it so it’s even more outrageous.
This film is not rated R, and it contains no explicit nudity and no explicit or simulated sex acts (in the normal sense of the word), yet its sexual content is extreme and unrelenting. Is that creativity, or degeneracy? Also, among its many comedic violence scenes are some that are totally inappropriate in terms of encouraging imitative behavior. Read on for further details, but be warned that this review will itself contain content inappropriate for children to read, and it will give away spoilers of some of the gags.
Red-headed Julia Jones (Alyson Hannigan) is grossly overweight, and keeps a diary of how she intends to find true love one day. She’s a waitress in her father’s Greek restaurant. Her father claims to be Greek, but is actually black. Her mother is Indian (that is, from India). Her sister is Japanese. And, they’re Jewish. Her controlling father expects her to marry within her own ethnic group and culture (whatever that is).
In the opening scenes, Julia is shown in a mood of forced happiness, dancing around the city streets and playing herself up to various men. The air from a grating billows up her skirt, in a takeoff of the scene in Marilyn Monroe’s “The Seven Year Itch”. None of the men react positively to her. One construction worker deliberately shoots himself in the head with a nail gun. And some firefighters blow her away with a water hose. One overweight man seems to be returning her overtures, but he walks past her and meets up with his apparently-gay companion who was standing behind her.
One day, while working in the restaurant, she has a momentary “connection” with a handsome British customer. But a minute later, he disappears. She doesn’t realize that he’s disappeared because she inadvertently brained him with a heavy object as she spun around, and he’s unconscious on the floor.
Desperate to find a man, Julia goes to “Hitch,” a black achondroplastic dwarf who claims to have been responsible for hooking up many (real-life) celebrities. At first, he refuses to help her, telling her she’s beyond his abilities. But seeing her brokenheartedness, he has pity on her and invites her in. While having her demonstrate her kissing ability (on her knees so they’re face-to-face), he remarks about her bad breath. He flosses her teeth and removes a large object (I won’t identify it) from her mouth. Then, she actually kisses him, and basically slobbers all over his face as he fights her off.
Finally, Hitch takes her to an auto body shop where his buddies give her a radical makeover. They grind down her bunions and splintered toenails; use cream and pull-strips to remove thick hair from her back; drill into her chest; and perform liposuction, pumping the removed contents into a container labeled “mayonnaise.” When they’re done, she’s normal weight and beautiful. (The fat makeup on Julia and the other characters was done by Academy Award winning special-effects makeup artist Matthew Mungle, whom I once met and whose work is truly amazing.)
Now that she has the “correct” appearance to be happy and enjoy life, Julia gets onto a Reality TV show styled after “The Bachelor.” The eligible Bachelor for this episode, Grant Fonckyerdoder (Adam Campbell), who happens to be the guy Julia previously connected with but then knocked out, is told by the show’s host to eliminate the female contestants that he doesn’t want (to have sex with); and he does so… with a shotgun. Finally, only Julia is left alive. In one of the film’s few positive moments, Grant recognizes Julia despite the change in weight, and says that he never thought she was ugly, even before her makeover. They quickly have sex together (implied with off-camera sounds, and by their being shown in bed afterwards, covers pulled up to their armpits).
The remainder of the film consists of Julia and Adam trying to make it to the marriage altar, while contending with two sets of very strange parents and with Adam’s jealous and scheming ex-fiance.
Language consists of a half-dozen uses of s*, about 30 other strong profanities and religious exclamations, some racial slurs, and an uncountable amount of sexual innuendo and double-entendres.
Besides the obvious scene-steals above from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “Bridget Jones”, there are parodies of “Say Anything,” “Napoleon Dynamite,” “Kill Bill,” “Wedding Crashers,” “The Wedding Planner” (with a big-butted character named “Jell-O”), “Pretty Woman” (with Adam in drag, playing the Julia Roberts hooker character), “Lord of the Rings,” “What Women Want,” “When Harry Met Sally” (with the fake orgasm at a restaurant), and the new version of “King Kong” (with Carmen Electra being stripped to a bikini, fondled, and then crushed by Kong’s giant hand).
The Jones family cat, Jinxers (a robot, but intended to be a real cat), uses the human toilet in a noisy and disgusting sequence of cat diarrhea. He smokes a cigarette. He attempts to have sex with a mummified human corpse, and pulls out a pack of condoms. During a wedding, he engages in passionate kissing with a lonely old lady.
Adam’s father basically hits on Julia the first time he meets her. Adam’s mother (a sex therapist) gives Julia a vaginal fertility thermometer that’s been passed down the family for generations and has never been washed. Adam’s mom also tends to rub people’s faces against her chest, whether they’re male or female. Julia’s mother gives Adam a lingerie magazine and a cup, and demands a specimen from him because she wants plenty of grandchildren and she intends to check his fertility. There are enticing gay characters, played for laughs. There’s a “Julia Gone Wild” sequence. There are many sequences of Adam’s old flame Andy (female) posing near-nude and alluringly, plus one sequence where she’s completely nude in front of Adam and Julia but is shot from a discreet angle. Even the music (whether rap songs, or ordinary songs with altered lyrics) is often sexual in emphasis.
The violence is all relatively bloodless and comic in tone, but some of it is not funny by a long shot. In one sequence, a toddler is being taught to speak, and his first word is “bitch.” Julia also prompts him to learn sign language, and when she asks him what a pimp does with a “Ho” who doesn’t give up all the money, the child makes a slapping motion. (According to one review, this child was also tossed from a moving vehicle, but I didn’t see that sequence. Either I zoned out for a moment, or the film has been recut.) There’s a background sequence of a Michael Jackson lookalike enticing a child, and then getting beat up by the child’s mother. The sequence I found most disturbing was when Julia and Adam, just for something to do together on a date, beat up a homeless man and steal his wallet and his booze. (The beating of homeless people by teenagers, often resulting in death, is an underreported but common problem in today’s urban areas.)
There’s a good deal more material that I haven’t mentioned. A small amount of it is genuinely funny. But most of it is of the groaner variety, pulling us down to a new low common denominator. One of the most ironic lines (in an “outtake” which I believe is shown during the credits) is when Julia (speaking to a therapist, in a self-parody) says that this is a PG-13 film and they’re only allowed to do very mild sexual material. Yeah, right.
I absolutely don’t recommend this film to anyone.
“Napoleon Dynamite” (2004) is the very first film parodied in “Date Movie”. If you’re looking for a quirky romantic comedy with underdog characters, but original material and 98% clean, “Napoleon Dynamite” would be an excellent choice. If you’d prefer a true three-hanky romantic drama, but still original material and 98% clean, I suggest Mel Gibson’s “Forever Young” (1992).
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Extreme
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.