50 First Dates
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Segal
Written byGeorge Wing
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyJack N. Green
Edited byJeff Gourson
Music byTeddy Castellucci
Production
companies
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • February 13, 2004 (2004-02-13)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$75 million[1]
Box office$198.5 million[1]

50 First Dates is a 2004 American romantic comedy film directed by Peter Segal and starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, with Rob Schneider, Sean Astin, Lusia Strus, Blake Clark and Dan Aykroyd in supporting roles. It follows the story of Henry, a womanizing marine veterinarian who falls for an art teacher named Lucy. When he discovers she has amnesia, and forgets him when she falls asleep, he resolves to win her over again each new day.

Most of the film was shot on location in Oahu, Hawaii, on the Windward side and the North Shore. Sandler and Barrymore won an MTV award for Best On Screen Team.

The film received mixed reviews but was a commercial success. It was later remade in India as Satyabhama (2007) (in Telugu)[2] and as Ormayundo Ee Mukham (2014) (in Malayalam),[3] in Japan as 50 First Kisses (2018),[4] in Iran as Chap dast (2005) and in Mexico as Como si fuera la primera vez in 2019.[5] The film marked the second collaboration between Sandler and Barrymore, after The Wedding Singer and before Blended (both directed by Frank Coraci), and it is also dedicated to Sandler's late father Stanley Sandler.[6]

Plot

Henry Roth is a veterinarian at Sea Life Park Hawaii on Oahu with a policy of only dating visiting tourists to avoid any serious commitments. His closest friends are Ula, a marijuana-smoking Islander; Alexa, his androgynous assistant; Willy, his pet African penguin; and Jocko, a walrus that lives at the park.

One day, Henry's boat breaks down, so he goes to the Hukilau Café to wait for the Coast Guard. He sees Lucy Whitmore make architectural art with her waffles. Henry assumes she is a local, which prevents him from introducing himself. He tries to go back to womanizing tourists, but can't seem to get Lucy out of his head. The next day, he comes back to the café and sees Lucy again, and this time he has breakfast with her. They instantly connect and Lucy offers to meet him again for breakfast the next morning.

The next day, however, Lucy shows no recollection of ever meeting him. The restaurant owner Sue explains to Henry that the year before, Lucy and her father Marlin went up to the North Shore to pick a pineapple for his birthday. On the way back, a cow wandered through a broken fence and onto the road, causing a car accident that left Lucy with a form of amnesia, whereby she remembers her life up until the night before the accident, and her memory is normal during the day, but those new experiences are lost when she goes to sleep. To save her the heartbreak of reliving the accident, Marlin and Doug, Lucy's steroid-addicted brother, re-enact Marlin's birthday every single day.

Despite Sue's warning, Henry continues to try to get Lucy to have breakfast with him on several occasions. It ends poorly one day when Henry unintentionally hurts Lucy's feelings. Henry follows Lucy to her house to apologize, but Marlin and Doug instruct him to leave her alone. However, Alexa advises Henry to look for a loophole in said instruction. Realizing that Marlin specifically said to stay away from the café, Henry begins concocting ways to run into Lucy on the road through the following days, during which he manages to successfully impress her over a series of "first" dates and "chance" encounters. Later, Marlin and Doug give their permission for Henry to continue when they discover Lucy regularly singing the Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice" in her painting studio – the first major change in her routine since the accident.

One day, as Henry is about to sit with Lucy at breakfast, she notices a police officer writing a ticket because of her expired license plates. With the ruse exposed, Lucy is distressed to learn that her friends and family have maintained the charade for so long. However, in watching her reaction, Henry surmises that her strongest reactions are to feeling betrayed by her loved ones, rather than the actual memory loss.

Henry devises a new strategy to let Lucy know about the truth by creating a video with her friends to explain the situation calmly; rather than let her go through her pre-accident routine, they plant the video in her room with a note to play it when she first wakes up. The strategy works and allows Lucy to process the events while catching her up on current events, including her relationship with Henry. Henry and Lucy's relationship grows well using this method, and they continue to refine the process while enduring some humorous setbacks, such as sleeping together one night and Lucy attacking Henry the next morning. However, when Lucy discovers that Henry has decided to abandon ten years' worth of planning for his research study of walruses in Bristol Bay to help manage her condition, she decides that they need to break up. Henry reluctantly helps her destroy her journal entries of their relationship and effectively "erase" their time together.

Some weeks later, Henry is preparing to leave for his research study. Before he goes, Marlin tells him that Lucy is now living at the institute and teaching an art class. As a parting gift, he gives Henry a Beach Boys CD which reminds him of Lucy to the point of crying. Suddenly, he realizes that Lucy's singing of "Wouldn't It Be Nice" was not random, but occurred on days when they "met" and indicates new learned memory retention. Henry abandons his trip and rushes to the art class. While Lucy does not remember him, she reveals that she dreams about him every night and has been painting some of their adventures. Seeing this as a sign, they happily reconcile.

Some time later, Lucy wakes up and plays the tape marked "Good Morning Lucy". It again reminds her of her accident, but ends with her and Henry's wedding. From the tape, Henry says to put a jacket on and come have breakfast when she is ready. Lucy then sees that she is on Henry's boat, which finally made it to Alaska. She goes up on deck and meets Marlin, Henry, and their young daughter Nicole.

Cast

Production

50 First Dates is the second film in which Sandler and Barrymore, both pictured in 2014, appear together. The Wedding Singer (1998) was their first collaboration.

On October 29, 2002, Variety reported that Columbia Pictures had bought a spec script from screenwriter George Wing, titled Fifty First Kisses, with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore originally in negotiations to star in the lead roles.[7] Barrymore was sold on the script and wrote Sandler a letter suggesting it as their next film together since The Wedding Singer.[8] Sandler joined the cast in December 2002, and was announced as co-producer under his film studio Happy Madison Productions along with Steve Golin's Anonymous Content.[9] Sandler then recommended the script to director Peter Segal while they were working post-production on Anger Management. Segal agreed to direct, leaving him with only two days of break from work before filming.[8] The director revealed that the studio had changed the original title to 50 First Dates because "marketing found that the term 'kisses' was turning off guys".[10]

While the script is primarily credited to George Wing, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Tim Herlihy, and Allen Covert did uncredited rewrites on it as well.[9][11] Adam Sandler had also reworked the script, significantly transforming its genre from drama to comedy.[12] Additional changes Sandler made to the script include moving its setting from Seattle to Hawaii and rewriting a decent amount of interior scenes that takes place in a café. Director Peter Segal felt these scenes were "very claustrophobic" as well as derivative of My Dinner with Andre, encouraging Sandler to rewrite these and move the location to the Kualoa Ranch.[10] Sandler said that shooting in Hawaii "just seemed like the very best possible place to do it for many different reasons. You don't see many movies [set] there, so it was a great experience to film in a different locale. And it is such a spectacularly beautiful place for a romantic comedy."[13]

Most of the film was shot on location in Kaneohe, Kaʻaʻawa, Wahiawa, Makapuʻu, Waimānalo, and Honolulu, as well as in Kāneʻohe Bay in 2003.[14] The Hukilau Cafe where Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler had breakfast each morning is still standing in Laie, Hawaii.[15] The opening credit scene of Hawaii is Chinaman's hat, a popular destination in itself. The road they drive on each day is located in Ka’a’awa Valley, popular filming location within Kualoa Ranch and is viewable through film site tour provided by the estate.[16][17] The estate also sells merchandise related to this movie and other movies filmed there. Due to the high cost of filming outside of the studio zone, some interior scenes (such as inside the Whitmore residence) were shot on sets in Los Angeles decorated to look like they were in Hawaii.[14]

Soundtrack

50 First Dates: Love songs from the Original Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedFebruary 3, 2004 (2004-02-03)
GenreSka, reggae, new wave
Length49:37
LabelMaverick Records
ProducerNick Hexum

The soundtrack contains cover versions of songs that were originally recorded in the 1980s and 1990s. This includes mostly reggae-style covers. It was a moderate commercial hit, reaching number 30 on the Billboard 200 and number 1 on the Top Soundtracks chart and Top Reggae Albums chart in the United States.

Despite being prominently featured in the film, neither the Beach Boys' 1966 "Wouldn't It Be Nice" nor Israel Kamakawiwoʻole's 1990 "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" was included on the soundtrack.

The soundtrack was produced by 311's frontman, Nick Hexum. 311 provided a cover of the Cure's "Lovesong" for the soundtrack. It is heard over the film's end credits.

No.TitleWriter(s)ArtistLength
1."Hold Me Now" (Thompson Twins)Tom Bailey, Alannah Currie, Joe LeewayWayne Wonder4:12
2."Love Song" (The Cure)Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Pearl Thompson, Boris Williams, Roger O'Donnell3113:28
3."Lips Like Sugar" (Echo & the Bunnymen)Will Sergeant, Ian McCulloch, Les PattinsonSeal featuring Mikey Dread5:00
4."Your Love (L.O.V.E. Reggae Mix)" (The Outfield)John SpinksWyclef Jean featuring Eve4:13
5."Drive" (The Cars)Ric OcasekZiggy Marley of Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers4:26
6."True" (Spandau Ballet)Gary Kempwill.i.am and Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas3:47
7."Slave to Love" (Bryan Ferry)FerryElan Atias featuring Gwen Stefani of No Doubt4:24
8."Every Breath You Take" (The Police)StingUB403:55
9."Ghost in You" (The Psychedelic Furs)Richard Butler, Tim ButlerMark McGrath of Sugar Ray4:24
10."Friday, I'm in Love" (The Cure)Smith, Gallup, Thompson, Williams, Perry BamonteDryden Mitchell of Alien Ant Farm3:01
11."Breakfast in Bed" (Dusty Springfield in 1969; UB40/Chrissie Hynde in 1988)Eddie Hinton, Donnie FrittsNicole Kea (Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls)3:22
12."I Melt with You" (Modern English)Robbie Grey, Gary McDowell, Stephen Walker, Michael Conroy, Richard BrownJason Mraz3:36
13."Forgetful Lucy"Sandler, Allen Covert, Tim HerlihyAdam Sandler1:53
Total length:49:37
Other songs in the film

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[18] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Release

Home media

50 First Dates was released on DVD and VHS on June 15, 2004.[19]

Critical reception

On Rotten Tomatoes, 50 First Dates has a score of 45% based on 175 reviews from critics, with an average rating of 5.4/10. The website's consensus states, "Gross-out humor overwhelms the easy chemistry between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, who bring some energy and yucks to this tale of a girl with short-term memory loss and the guy who tries to get her to love him."[20] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 48% based on 38 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[21] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade A− on scale of A to F.[22]

Critics who enjoyed the film (such as The New York Times reviewer A. O. Scott) praised the uplifting story while lamenting the seemingly excessive and incongruous amount of crude humor and drug references.[23] Roger Ebert gave it three out of four stars, saying "The movie is sort of an experiment for Sandler. He reveals the warm side of his personality, and leaves behind the hostility, anger and gross-out humor... The movie doesn't have the complexity and depth of Groundhog Day... but as entertainment it's ingratiating and lovable."[24] Rex Reed was scathing in his review for The New York Observer, calling the film "stupid, coarse and abysmally unfunny" while singling out offensive humor about brain damage.[25]

Sandler and Barrymore won the award for Best On-Screen Team at the MTV Movie & TV Awards. The two actors, who had previously worked together in the film The Wedding Singer, are said to regard 50 First Dates as one of their favorite collaborations as professional "soul mates".[26]

Depiction of amnesia

Anterograde amnesia is a condition where one loses the ability to form new memories after damage to the brain. Damage to the hippocampus, which is located in the medial temporal lobe of the brain, has been widely associated as a determining factor of the gravity of the condition.[27]

In an article in The BMJ on depictions of amnesia in film, clinical neuropsychologist Sallie Baxendale writes that 50 First Dates "maintains a venerable movie tradition of portraying an amnesic syndrome that bears no relation to any known neurological or psychiatric condition". True amnesic syndromes are usually a result of a stroke, brain infection, or neurosurgery; very rarely does amnesia result from just car accidents.[28]

In one case, a British woman named Michelle Philpots suffered traumatic brain injuries after two motor vehicle accidents in 1985 then 1990. Subsequently, she developed epilepsy in 1994, which led to her anterograde amnesia. She does not remember anything subsequent to 1994 and also can suffer from shorter term memory loss on the timescale of minutes. Her condition caused her to be fired from her office job after photocopying a single document over and over again, having forgotten she had already completed the task.[29] Each morning, she wakes up believing it is 1994 and her husband, who she met prior to her accident, has to convince her of their 1997 marriage, using a photo album as proof.[30]

In 2010, researchers described a woman who developed a similar kind of memory impairment after she was involved in a car crash. She described her memory as being normal for events on the same day, with memories from the previous day subsequently being lost each night. However, a neuropsychological test revealed some improvement in recall for tasks which she had, unknowingly, performed the previous day. Although the woman claimed not to have seen 50 First Dates prior to her 2005 crash (but has watched it several times since), she stated that Drew Barrymore was her favorite actress, leading researchers to conclude that her condition might have been influenced by some knowledge of the film's plot, and its impact upon her understanding of amnesia.[31]

In July 2015, two people were discovered to have a form of anterograde amnesia that resembles the type depicted in the movie. One is a man in the UK, originally from Germany. He wakes up every day thinking it is March 14, 2005, because that is the day he underwent anesthesia for a dental procedure which led to this condition as a rare, unexplained complication (however, his anterograde amnesia, like that of others with the condition, causes him to forget facts not daily, but within 90 minutes).[32] The other is a woman who reportedly believes every day is October 15, 2014; she was visiting Kettering General Hospital for a kickboxing injury when she slipped and hit her head on a metal pole.[33][34]

Real-world application

In 2015, the Hebrew Home of Riverdale, Bronx, had started an experimental program in which residents with early dementia watch a video every morning wherein they see comforting messages and reminders from family members who they may still know. The program was to be evaluated for potential inclusion of more residents. Robert Abrams of NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital considered this idea "both innovative and thoughtful". Charlotte Dell, director of social services for the home, said the program was inspired by 50 First Dates.[35]

References

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  4. ^ Yip Wai Yee (July 25, 2018). "Japanese remake 50 First Kisses sticks too closely to 50 First Dates". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on May 2, 2022. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  5. ^ López, Elsa (September 4, 2019). "¿Deberías ver el remake de 'Como si fuera la primera vez? ¡Te decimos nuestro veredicto!". Glamour (Mexico) (in Spanish). Retrieved September 20, 2021.
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