With a plot as generic as its title, Date Movie sets out to spoof as many modern-day romantic comedies as it can. Julia Jones is a Bridget Jones-ish hopeless romantic who’s waiting for her Prince Charming. She’s also overweight, not-so-attractive and hygienically challenged. That all changes after a mini-Hitch love doctor gets her “pimped out” via an appearance-transforming extreme makeover. Meanwhile, Julia’s father, who runs a big fat Greek restaurant, is determined his daughter will marry one of their own kind—that is, a Greek-Indian-Japanese-Jew. But when eligible English bachelor Grant Fonckyerdoder comes along, it’s love at first sight. Before the couple is married, it’s off to Meet the Parents, which means Julia’s uptight clan must mingle with Grant’s sex therapist mother and freewheeling dad.
That’s the least of the worries, though. Grant’s “best man,” Andy, turns out to be a blonde bombshell whom Grant was engaged to only three weeks prior. And when Julia hits her head and suddenly is able to hear people’s thoughts, she discovers that Andy wants her man back.
Grant tells Julia that he doesn’t remember her ever being ugly and compliments her appearance. The two speak of their eternal devotion to one another. Julia’s parents have been married for 30 years, and it’s stated that “marriage is not to be taken lightly.” Feeling convicted for being so controlling, Mr. Jones apologizes for refusing to let his daughter follow her heart. Grant apologizes to Julia for letting his ex kiss him.
Hitch says he’s an ordained minister. A host of characters sing a slaughtered version of “I Say a Little Prayer.”
An endless barrage of sexual comments, innuendos, visuals, double entendres and overall low-brow humor stretch this movie’s PG-13 rating as far as able. Only by re-creating every detail of the movie’s script could I list all the jokes, situations and even soundtrack songs that cover the gamut of lewd material—from sexual positions to anatomical descriptions to … bestiality. Gay jokes abound as well, and a stereotypically “flaming” homosexual appears in short shorts that show off his backside.
The camera refuses to miss any opportunity to focus on Andy’s skimpy attire. One scene, which is shown repeatedly, has her showing most of her skin while washing a car, à la Paris Hilton’s Carl’s Jr. commercial. Julia goes topless for a (censored) “Julia Gone Wild” video. Andy also removes her clothes and sits naked through an entire scene (we see her breast from the side). Later, she shows off her thong underwear. A King Kong parody finds Carmen Electra being stripped down to her bikini by a giant gorilla. A Kama Sutra drawing of a couple in a sexual position gets screen time.
Playing off an infamous When Harry Met Sally scene, Grant makes orgasmic sounds at a restaurant. We later hear the same thing as the camera spies him in bed with Julia. References to “doing the deed” include Julia’s mother asking Grant is he’s ever “knocked anyone up” and requiring that he take a sperm test. Mrs. Fonckyerdoder has no qualms about describing her husband’s penis throughout the movie. He, meanwhile, doesn’t see a problem with groping his son’s fiancée upon first meeting her. Grant and Julia recite the suggestive lyrics of 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop,” which includes blatant references to oral sex.
The violence in the slapstick-happy Date Movie is played for laughs and comes sans blood or gore. (Either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it.) A man shoots himself in the head with a nail gun, and contestants on a reality show are “eliminated” with a shotgun. Hitch whacks a moving motorcyclist with a baseball bat. Grant tosses a young child out of a camper. During a counseling session, he also fantasizes about (and makes the motions of) strangling, suffocating and breaking the neck of his fiancée. A raging mother smashes a chair over “Michael Jackson,” then repeatedly slams his head in a garbage dump. Lord of the Rings‘ Frodo kicks Gandalf in the groin. While showing his potential in-laws his new martial art moves, Mr. Fonckyerdoder punches and kicks them.
Restaurant customers break plates on the back of Julia’s head. She also gets shocked after hitting her head on a power box. The ugly duckling’s extreme makeover includes mechanics drilling into her skin. Later, a popped zit sends her crashing through a wall. Jumping cats collide in the air. A J.Lo wannabe smashes things in her office with her backside. Andy gets elbowed in the face, and she and Julia engage in a Kill Bill-ish sword fight.
While again not capitalizing on gore, probably the most disturbing meant-for-laughs scene is when Julia decides to express her happiness at being in love via a “bum fight,” attacking a homeless person for sport. After she and Grant punch, kick and pummel their helpless, shoddy victim to a singsongy background track, they steal his wallet and booze. In similar cross-the-line fashion, Julia teaches a toddler about “slapping hos” to “keep his pimp hand strong.” (A flashcard image depicts a man hitting a woman.) While the bound—and screaming—Carmen Electra is being “mauled” by the gorilla, the savages cheer.
The s-word is spoken a half-dozen times and a variation of it is shown in writing. A makeup doll sent to Julia has “I fXXXed up big-time” written on its chest. Almost 30 milder profanities, coarse terms and racial slurs get uttered or shown (including “a–hole,” “d–khead” and “n-gga”). Andy makes an obscene gesture in a magazine photo.
An introductory snapshot of Julia jokingly indicates that she smokes thousands of cigarettes a day and is an avid drinker. A cat smokes a lit cigarette. Julia and Grant’s first dinner date includes glasses of wine. Michael Jackson tells an angry mother that the drink he gave his younger friends was “Jesus juice” (wine). Several people are shown with mixed drinks in hand.
Where do I start? With the gross-out humor of a cat defecating on a corpse (then pulling out a condom)? The repeated play on Grant’s last name? The constant “butt ugly” comments Julia receives from her father? The child who is taught how to swear for his first word? Or should I rather concentrate on the fact that underneath this mile-thick layer of crud is an age-old, problematic precept that’s now solidly embedded in the romantic comedy genre: When it comes to love, beauty is everything. Date Movie unrepentantly mocks fat people, ugly people, hairy people—anyone who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) appear on an episode of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. I don’t mean to wax too philosophic over a here-today, gone-tomorrow spoof flick that simply aims to draw cheap laughs, but there’s gotta be a lesson to be learned here.
Airplane! The Naked Gun. Spaceballs. Top Secret. Hot Shots. When I was growing up, those were the classic spoofs everyone went around quoting. Far from innocent, these were stupid, silly, pointless flicks that required viewers to sedate their minds and consciences before indulging. Date Movie now requires moviegoers to utterly abandon both. Not that that’s surprising, seeing as how its promotional material tagged the project as coming “from two of the six writers of Scary Movie.”
When asked by a counselor to expound upon her and her husband’s sex life, Julia quips, “I can’t do that. It’s a PG-13 rated movie. We’re limited to very mild sexual content.” That’s possibly the funniest line of the movie—it’s certainly the most absurd. Laughing at the most memorable scenes from recent romantic comedies is one thing; simply re-enacting those scenes and dousing them with even raunchier sight gags and jokes is just boring and foul. Date night just went from dinner-and-a-movie to … dinner.