Making the Grades
After sitting through Adam Sandler's latest movie, I could think of at least 50 reasons not to recommend it. The film's endless obsession with crude pet names for the male anatomy and sexually suggestive comments would account for that many objections alone.
Sandler's screen persona is Henry Roth, a charming aquatic vet on the island of Oahu. After hours, he scans the sun-bathed beaches for tourist babes he can bed and then abandon. Unwilling or unable to make a commitment, he wants relationships purely for self-gratification, and for the vicarious pleasure the encounters seem to give his sex-obsessed, drug-using cousin, Ula (Rob Schneider).
Then he meets Lucy Whitmore (Drew Barrymore). The perky blonde lives across the island and suffers from a severe brain injury. The disorder is the result of an accident, which happened months earlier when she and her father nearly sideswiped a cow before wrapping their jeep around a tree. While appearing perfectly normal, Lucy's short-term memory is erased every night during sleep, making her believe that each new day is the morning of the mishap.
Now her loving and probably guilt-ridden father (Blake Clark) cares for her with the help of her lisping, muscle-bound brother (Sean Austin), who appears to be developing his own form of brain damage by using steroids. Every night the two men faithfully reset the stage so that they can play out the events of the ill-fated day. Then Lucy never has to face the fact she can't remember a thing beyond that afternoon, including the accident.
The staff and customers at the local diner where Henry firsts meets Lucy are also in on the deception. Carefully reconstructing her sunrise ritual of waffles and coffee, they handle her with kid gloves and are none too happy when Henry starts showing an interest in her.
The sea animal doctor is drawn to the bubbly art teacher and isn't deterred when he discovers he'll have to daily re-win her affection. Dismissing the concerns of her family and friends, Henry sets out to prove he can earn Lucy's love again and again and again.
While the scheme sounds sweet, the depth of commitment is questionable considering Henry's past history with women and the strains that would inevitably come from beginning a relationship anew everyday. Regrettably, many of the movie's jokes come at the expense of brain injury patients and characters that experience gender confusion. Topped off with profanities and allusions to illegal drug use, the content concerns continue to add up. Along the way audiences may also feel they're seeing the same Sandler sentiment... again and again and again.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about 50 First Dates.
The script never explains why Lucy’s father and brother relive the same day over and over. What things could they have done instead to help her move forward with her life? Do you think Henry’s solutions were more positive ways to help her?
How did Lucy’s journal help her remember important things? What would you record in a journal?