Starring Alyson Hannigan, Adam Campbell, and Eddie Griffin, Rated 14A.
I've never vomited during a film. But Date Movie, a disgusting spoof of romantic comedies that marks the directorial debut of two Scary Movie scribes, brought me this close to bidding adieu to a ham sandwich.
It wasn't the dripping, black-matted hairball one character gagged up. Nor was it the horny cat slurping the stiff tongue of a dead grandma, or even references to decades-old romantic comedies released when the target demographic for this was still picking poop out of their Huggies. It was the film's gleeful misogyny.
The chief target is Alyson Hannigan as Julia Jones. A Bridget Jones singleton in a Shallow Hal-style fat suit, Julia endures a My Big Fat Greek Wedding dilemma when she falls for a British fop with floppy hair, appropriately named Grant (good sport Adam Campbell). In an ebullient opening sequence, BBW Julia bounces confidently down the street to Kelis's "Milkshake". But before Julia can bust another move, she's shut down with a firehose. Cue the take on Pimp My Ride, whereupon Julia is rebuilt to supposed fuckability. Thereafter, though, a woman disses her for being flat-chested. A chick can't win. That's Date Movie's major defect.
An effective spoof-think the original Scary Movie-requires the appearance of complicity with the fans of the satirized genre. It relies on their near-bibliographic knowledge of the movies being parodied. Date Movie ought to have devoted itself to women, who for the most part can cite cinematic romantic bits the way guys toss around Canucks stats. Instead, it objectifies them to curry favour with the very laddish mentality that recoils from "chick flicks" with more fake retching than when someone suggests they see Brokeback Mountain. So in between riffs on Legally Blonde, Meet the Fockers, The Wedding Planner, My Best Friend's Wedding, The Seven Year Itch (!) and Hitch, Date Movie wanders giddily off-topic. When the stunning Sophie Monk irrelevantly pops up yet again in a bikini íƒ la Paris Hilton's Carl's Burgers ad, we finally suspect erections ruled the editing suite.
Where's Nora Ephron when you need her?