Directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, starring Alyson Hannigan, Adam Campbell, Jennifer Coolidge, Eddie Griffin, Fred Willard and Sophie Monk.
See 'Date Movie' at your peril. Let there be no confusion about this.
Firstly, the writers ("two of the six writers of 'Scary Movie'", according to the tagline) Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer have questionable pedigrees. Having worked together on all three 'Scary Movies' between 2000 and 2003, their only other credit is for writing the story for 'Spy Hard'. Clearly, then, these chaps are chained to the parody genre. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The parody genre has produced some genuine classics: consider 'Airplane!', the 'Naked Gun' series or the 'Hot Shots' films.
However, this leads to the second point. While the classics of the genre have parodied serious films to comic effect, Friedberg and Seltzer reference scenes from other comedies, dragging any humour from them through dull repetition. When 'Airplane!' plucked scenes from little-known B-movie 'Zero Hour', it was in the knowledge that such badly written and ham-acted rubbish could be made into effective comedy by the merest of tweaks. When 'Date Movie' takes the same approach with recent hit comedies, it falls flat because the only option is to push the original jokes further, revealing comedy's own double negative: a parodied joke is not a joke.
Thirdly, there isn't one actor in this film that can actually deliver a funny line. Alyson Hannigan carries off the film's straight role, that of the ugly duckling who finds love, but her co-stars, from whom the laughs should come, fail to deliver. No one in this film comes close to the delivery and timing of the likes of Leslie Nielsen or Lloyd Bridges.
The fourth problem is that the film is, at times, gut-wrenchingly revolting. At least three scenes will have unsuspecting viewers pushing their popcorn to one side in disgust. While the crude can be funny (for example, the laxative sketch in 'Dumb and Dumber') there is a line beyond which the humorously disgusting becomes simply disgusting.
This film represents a cynical attempt to take the funniest parts of other films and re-brand them in order to make a quick killing at the box office. No doubt it will. But if this film has a future, it is as a how-not-to-make-a-comedy instruction video.
Barry J Whyte