Sample humor in Date Movie: Two hobbits and a wizard walk into a jewelry store. One hobbit asks the clerk how much she’ll give him for a certain ring in his possession. She offers him 50 bucks and he grudgingly takes it while the wizard bemoans the fate of mankind over this transaction. The hobbit tells him to shut up and plants his hairy, hobbity foot squarely between the wizard’s legs, causing Mr. Magic to double up in pain, crying, “My precious!”
If that strikes you as hysterically funny, then this strangely unpleasant attempt to do for (or to) romantic comedies what Scary Movie did for (or to) horror films is for you. Otherwise, unless you’re a hardcore fan of TV’s Buffy, who just can’t get enough of Alyson Hannigan, this is apt to be the kind of brutally painful movie-going experience generally associated with the lesser efforts of Rob Schneider. Truthfully, that’s unfair to Schneider, since this film caused me to long for the quaint charms of Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo.
For what it’s worth, the plot involves Julia Jones (Hannigan), a lovelorn spinster of somewhat more than zaftig proportions, in her search for love via the assistance of a “love doctor” called Hitch (Tony Cox, Bad Santa). At first he despairs of accomplishing anything, but then he takes her to an auto-body shop where they somehow slim Julia down — in various grotesque ways — into the guise of Ms. Hannigan without the fat suit. On a dating show, she ends up being the preferred choice (the losers are machine-gunned) of eligible bachelor Grant Fonckyerdoder (newcomer Adam Campbell), but the course of rom-com love can’t run smoothly, of course. Absurd — and frequently distasteful — complications abound as the movie cavorts through imitations of real romantic comedies to get to its predictable ending.
There’s so much so very wrong with this movie that it would be impossible to catalogue its constant misfires. The essential problem, however, lies at the core of the concept. Without claims to being complete, Date Movie restages scenes from a wide array of movies, including Bridget Jones’s Diary, Dodgeball (this is a romantic comedy?), My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama, My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Wedding Planner, Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers and on and on.
Sometimes it mixes its quotes — Meet the Fockers gets a dose of Dodgeball thrown in. Mostly, though, it indulges in little more than merely duplicating the films it supposedly mocks. I’m not sure what the point is, unless this is meant as an attempt to make the viewer feel clever by being able to recognize the source material. There’s a certain pop-culture amusement in ripping off the Bridget Jones diary entries and placing Julia’s alcohol consumption at “Tara Reid level,” but again this seems mostly a case of the viewer needing to be sufficiently media-saturated to even get the joke. It’s not intrinsically funny and in five years, only the most esoteric-minded will understand it.
The level of humor isn’t even high school; it’s nearer to junior high, or possibly even something dreamed up by precocious third graders. Really, unless you crave to view Eddie Griffin hack up a hair-ball (courtesy of Fred Willard’s chest hair) or an old lady French kiss a Siamese cat or Alyson Hannigan be propelled through a wall by the force of the discharge when she pops a zit, I cannot conceive of a reason you’d want to see this dreadful movie. Rated PG-13 for continuous crude and sexual humor, including language.
– reviewed by Ken Hanke