Sunday, February 19, 2006

Not-so-great "Date Movie"

Will Alyson Hannigan ever be able to get over that flute joke? Apparently not, so she's embraced it and jumped right into the mildly amusing "Date Movie."

What was I expecting from what is supposed to be a spoof of romantic comedies? Well, just to laugh. And we did, a few times at least, but not enough even to fill the movie's measly one hour and 20 minutes.

What's good? Hannigan is. Having watched her grow up as Willow on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," I've always liked her, and she almost manages to charm her way through this mess. Along for the ride and great as usual are Tony Cox and Eddie Griffin, both of whom could be funny at a funeral.

But what are they given to work with? Almost nothing. There is plenty to parody in today's movies, romantic and otherwise, as the makers of "Scary Movie" proved. But before setting out, you need one thing, a script, which the makers of "Date Movie" didn't seem to bother with.

The two most frequent targets are "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and "Meet the Parents," both of which I liked. But lifting complete scenes from these movies is not parody, especially when your spoofs aren't nearly as funny as the original material.

I hate it when they do this in trailers, but I have to share what I thought was the best joke, which probably only serves to show how old I am. After our heroine dumps her would-be suitor, he goes all Lloyd Dobler, standing outside with his boombox raised high, blaring Player's "Baby Come Back" as the neighbors pelt him with vegetables. The only time I genuinely laughed out loud.

Will our Alyson ever get to be a leading lady in a good movie? I'm gonna keep hope alive, because I still think she deserves the chance. Unfortunately, this is definitely not it.

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