In 2006, a decade after their writing debut, the duo of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, after facing difficulty capitalising from Spy Hard. They had finally worked upon a film themselves, from producing, writing, directing practically all on their own. Times have changed in the decade absence, and the iconic romantic comedy blossomed in popularity, making it an ample target for spoofing. The result was a film that you could laugh and weep to in Date Movie.
Unlucky in love, waitress Julia Jones, is considered unattractive and destined to being lonely while working in her dads’ restaurant. That is until she meets, the charmingly British Grant Fockyerdoder. Her romantic prospects get turned around when she enlists the services of Hitch, romantic doctor to the stars, to help and after a dramatic makeover, the two get intimate and start a promising relationship. All is not plain sailing, however, as the couple must deal with embarrassing family meetups, among other awkward situations. However, when Grant’s stunning ex, Andy, returns to the scene, jealousy blooms. Will this match-up last until the end of the film?
The decade long ‘hiatus’ has led to some noticeable alterations to Friedberg and Seltzer’s comedy style. While the steady stream of pop-culture parody is apparent in both films, it is substantially different from the duo’s debut. Date Movie is much more focused on direct parodies and deliberately calling out the cultural zeitgeist, or what it was in 2006. The most remarkable change is how the humour has become a lot cruder. While the brashness of the humour might not be for everyone, Date Movie see the emergence of more gross-out gags. Much like the other gross-out films I covered, your mileage may vary. Though, they will certainly be entertaining those who enjoy that sort of thing. An almost anthropomorphic cat embodies the brunt of the crudeness, but the human cast is willing to do their best to make the audience cringe with comedy.
Possibly as a reflection of the time it debuted, but Date Movie is often poking jabs at celebrities, at least more so their first film. Suffice to say I would not want to be in J-Lo’s shoes watching this. It is interesting due to recent retrospection means we are in the process of re-evaluating how we looked at the stars of the time. Although some of Date Movie’s observations are more innocent, Adam Campbell’s Hugh Grant stick is quite enjoyable and is par for the course for a romantic comedy spoof, the combination especially works well with Alyson Hannigan who is an interesting amalgamation of prior Romantic Comedy heroines. While Sophie Monk makes perfect sense as the jealous ex and is equally willing to join in for the sillier moments.
The duo’s smorgasbord approach to comedy will certainly impress, even 15 years after the references were relevant. Although not for everybody, those who like it will get their fill of gross-out gags and cringe humour, while the rest will enjoy the rom-com parodies. I admire them for both writing and directing their vision, as Date Movie reaps the advantages from the uncompromising creative freedom. In line with all its goofy antics, Date Movie shows it sometimes takes two to light up your life.
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