2006-03-24 / Columnists

MovieScope

'Date Movie' - Making Fun Of Funny
By Robert Snyder


The "Scary Movie" franchise has lately run out of scary movies to spoof and is focusing on funny movies to make fun of.

This is a problem because most of its targets ("Meet the Fockers," "Meet the Parents," "Big Fat Greek Wedding," "The Wedding Planner," "Wedding Crashers") are hilarious in their own right.

For example, as funny as he is, Fred Willard does not generate more laughs than Dustin Hoffman playing Bernie Focker. However, Jennifer Coolidge does a dead-on Barbra Steisand imitation as Bernie's sex therapist wife, which is amusing in a Mad Magazine-"Saturday Night Live" sort of way.

But more amusing than "Meet the Fockers"? No.

Scripted by two of the six“Scary Movie" writers (Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, who also directed), "Date Movie" features Alyson Hannigan of the "American Pie" movies in a fat suit playing Juliet Jones (as in Renee Zellweger's Bridget Jones). She goes to Hitch (Tony Cox of "Bad Santa" doing Will Smith) for dating tips and winds up having a makeover in an auto body shop.

The pre-makeover Juliet has already caught the eye of heartthrob Grant Funkyerdoder (Adam Campbell) despite her obesity, but love seriously blooms after the trimmed-down heroine is revealed.

In the film's least humorous sequence, they celebrate their romance by "beating up a bum."

The non-stop gags highlight a recognize-the-spoofed-film fest for mainstream movie fans, with "Kill Bill" and "Napoleon Dynamite" thrown in for sport. Still, it's an uphill battle by the filmmakers to outdo the originals. At times, you can't help, but you wish were home watching those comedy classics on DVD.

In a sense, "Date Movie" is an 80-minute advertisement for the "Fockers," "Planners" and "Crashers." It won't be long before the slight satire finds its place on a DVD rental shelf. If you must see it, save your money for that.

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