Since his Saturday Night Live days, Adam Sandler has given us many reasons to laugh. Admittedly, he’s also given us a number of reasons to cringe. One of his finer moments came in the 2004 film 50 First Dates, a movie that can be seen on Netflix. You better hurry if you want to see it though, it leaves the popular streamer on June 1, 2021.
50 First Dates marks the second pairing of Adam Sandler with Drew Barrymore. Their first came in the 1998 hit The Wedding Singer and the pair had been looking around for a few years for another movie they could team up on.
In 50 First Dates, Adam Sandler plays Henry Roth, womanizer and veterinarian at Oahu’s Sea Life Park. He has no intent on settling down, satisfied with hooking up with the most attractive tourists. Life is about to change for Henry, though.
Henry’s boat breaks down, forcing him to the Hukilau Café to wait for the Coast Guard’s help. While at the café, Henry sees Lucy Whitmore (Barrymore) making art out of her waffles. He assumes she’s a local, so hitting on her would be a no-go.
The next day, Henry returns to the café, and there again sits Lucy. Henry finally decides to introduce himself, which he does. The breakfast goes well, prompting Lucy to ask Henry to come back the next morning. When he does, things get really strange. Lucy has no idea who Henry is, despite Henry trying to remind her of their breakfast the day before.
As things continue to fall apart, Henry has a conversation with the café’s owner Sue. She explains to Henry that Sue was involved in a car accident one year prior that left her with anterograde amnesia. She no longer has the ability to create new memories and her past is also a blank slate. Sue warns Henry no to get involved. Do you think he listens to her?
Following another breakfast meeting with Lucy where he unintentionally hurts her feelings, Henry follows her home, trying to get the lay of the land, so to speak. Henry meets Lucy’s father Martin (Blake Clark) and her lisping, steroid-loving brother Doug (Sean Astin), who both warn Henry to stay away. Do you think he listens to them?
Henry, finally understanding how to deal with Lucy, sets up a series of first dates and chance encounters. Martin and Doug finally give their blessing when they notice that, for the first time since the accident, Lucy has subtly changed her routine by singing the Beach Boys Wouldn’t It Be Nice while working in her art studio.
As Henry continues to fall deeper and deeper, he now tries to find a way to help Lucy retain all her memories. Together with Lucy, they begin to plant videos and notes so when Lucy wakes up each morning, she can catch up on life quickly and enjoy the day for what it is. Things are going well until Lucy realizes that Henry has decided to pass on going to Bristol Bay to study walruses, a plan he’s had in motion for ten years, in order to help Lucy manage her condition. Lucy decides to walk away from their relationship.
50 First Dates gets a lot of its comedy from those not named Adam Sandler or Drew Barrymore. Astin is hilarious as Doug, lisping and posing his way through his role. Also coming in hard with the fun is Rob Schneider (Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo), a Sandler movie veteran. He plays Ula, Henry’s pot-smoking, unhappily married with five kids, Hawaiian best friend who offers his strange advice to Henry while also helping Henry in his efforts to win over Lucy.
Adam Sandler brought the script to director Peter Segal while the two were in post-production with their film Anger Management. Segal agreed to do the picture two days before it was set to go in front of the cameras, giving him little time to truly prepare for the shoot.
The script was written by George Wing, who claims the only credit, but it is well known that Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (amazing screenwriters of Splash, Parenthood, City Slickers, and A League of Their Own), as well as Tim Herlihy and Allen Covert, did some uncredited revisions. Adam Sandler probably made the most revisions, turning what was a drama into a comedy and changing the location from Seattle to Hawaii. All in all, though, they gave Wing the final and sole writing credit.
Say what you will about the film stylings of Adam Sandler, everyone has their opinion – good, bad, or indifferent. To some, he continues to make people laugh. Others, well, they have long grown tired of his schtick. Critical reception, as is the case with most Sandler movies, was not favorable. Of course, audiences felt differently with the reteaming of Sandler and Barrymore as the film brought in nearly $200 million at the box office on a $75 million budget.
All in all, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore have made three films together with 50 First Dates their biggest breadwinner. After The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates, the pair waited 10 years before they reteamed in the guilty pleasure Blended.
Adam Sandler continues his hit-or-miss career with Netflix footing the bill. In 2014, the Sand Man signed a six-picture deal with the streamer that was worth $250 million to the popular star, and then on the day Uncut Gems was set to stream on Netflix they announced an extension to their deal, adding four more pictures at a cost of $275 million to Sandler.
Next up for Adam Sandler and Netflix will be Hustle, a sports drama featuring Adam Sandler as a former big-time basketball recruiter who is trying to revive his career when he tries to bring an overseas player into the NBA. After that, Sandler has Spaceman for Netflix.
Act quick, though. Adam Sandler’s 50 First Dates is good for quite a few laughs and smiles, but you only have a little more time to catch it on Netflix.