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February 16, 2004 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-02-16

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Monday
February 16, 2004
arts.michigandaily.com
artseditor@michigandaily.com

RTS

5A

By Raquel Laneri
Daily Arts Writer

Strangely, many comedies have
certain issues with being comedies.
They either feel the need to com-
pensate for the stupid jokes by
tacking on some trite, sappy, feel-
good subplot or moral or to com-
pensate for too much romance and
cheese by throwing in some bath-

room jokes here
and there. Peter
Segal's "50 First
Dates," the lat-
est Adam San-
dler vehicle,
falls into this
trap. The film
tries to add

50 First
Dates
At Showcase,
Quality 16 and
Ma stone
Columbia

juvenile humor to tone down the
sentimental-romantic-comedy feel,
but the jokes just end up seeming
awkward and out-of-place when
juxtaposed with all the cheesy
"love stuff."
Yes, the film is ripe with senti-
mentality, sometimes embarrass-
ingly so, which is a shame
because Sandler and co-star Drew
Barrymore have an undeniable
chemistry.
Sandler plays Henry Roth, a
commitment-phobic sea-animal
caretaker who exclusively dates
tourists - that is, until he meets
Lucy (Barrymore) and falls in love
with her when he sees her con-
structing houses out of her waffles
at a restaurant. Except Lucy, and
here's the twist, has no short-term
memory, so every time she sees
Henry, he has to try to make her
fall in love with him all over again.
Sandler is rather dull when he's
not sharing the screen with Barry-
more, with whom he exudes a
rather goofy charm. The rest of the
time, he's trying too hard to appear
cute by acting buddy-buddy with
sea creatures or deep and sensitive
with Lucy's father (Blake Clark,
"Mr. Deeds"), which makes the

Courtesy uof Co~lumia

Stop looking at me, Swan ... you too, Walrus.

50 WORST DATES

SANDLER AND BARRYMORE REUNITE IN DISASTER

But instead of tuning down melo-
drama to prevent the romantic com-
edy from oozing too much
sentimentality, the film tries to
divert the audience from the cheese
by throwing in sight gags and crude
jokes. Humor about walrus penises
or gender-ambiguous co-workers
gets tiresome pretty quickly. And
why Segal thought gratuitously
showing Rob Schneider's butt-
crack would make audiences laugh
- instead of cringe - is just
mind-boggling.
The film, surprisingly, has some
redeeming aspects about it - the
"Memento"-meets-"Groundhog
Day" premise, the chemistry
between the two lead actors, and
Schneider's endearingly daft, pot-
smoking character (when he's not
showing his butt crack). Unfortu-
nately, these qualities get muddled
in the sickeningly sweet dialogue
and vulgar gags. Instead of comedy
and romance working together to
create a film with both tenderness
and humor, the two clash only to
create an unconvincing mess.

'Bustin' Out'
fails to
build upon
the original
By Jason Roberts
Daily Arts Editor
V .DEOGAME REVIEW
The Maxis franchise of "Sim" games
has been an extensive one, and dozens of
hit or miss sequels and spin-offs have
followed the original, "Sim City."
It wasn't until the year 2000 that
Maxis hit pay dirt with its release of
"The Sims," a game in which players
took a voyeuristic look into the lives of
a family of virtual characters, deciding
how each person was to live his life.
From showering in the morning and
finding a job during the day to cooking
dinner that night, gamers were attracted
and ultimately
addicted to this
style of God-like The Sims:
gameplay. Bustin' Out
Maxis's newest GameCube, PS2
release, "The Sims: and XBox
Bustin' Out," Maxis
promised to get the
Sims out of the confines of their homes
and into the neighborhood, allowing for
all new environments and interactions
with other Sims. In this respect, the
game does deliver. Gainers are allowed
to take their creations out into locales
such as Pixel Acres (a nudist colony),
Club Rubb (a local dance club) and
Shiny Things Lab (home of a mad sci-
entist) to meet and form relationships
with other characters.
The new locales and the variety of
new jobs develop upon the already
involving gameplay of the first "Sims"
release. The graphics have also under-
gone a massive overhaul; no longer are
the camera angles trapped in four pre-
determined isometric views. Instead,
viewers are allowed full control of the
360 degree camera.
In the end, however, "The Sims:
Bustin' Out" simply feels like another
expansion pack to the original game.
Creating characters and having them
advance along their prospective career
paths is an interesting premise but, as it
did in the first game, gets bogged down
in rudimentary and banal micromanage-
ment. Keeping your Sims in good spirits.
constantly involves cooking them din-
ners, having them take showers, letting
them water flowers and numerous other
everyday activities. If gamers sigh at the
fact that they have to take out the trash in
real life, why would it be any more
enjoyable in a videogame?
The goal-driven career mode keeps
the game on track, though. With a vari-
ety of objectives laid out, ganers feel
as though they are advancing toward
some higher end. Without it, the
upgraded graphics and gameplay
wouldn't matter, and "Bustin' Out"
would flounder completely.

commitment-phobic jerk aspect of
his personality unconvincing.
Barrymore, however, projects a
cute sincerity that seduces the audi-
ence. Her mediocre acting actually
works for her here, since she plays
a ditzy, but sweet, perpetually "out-
of-it" character. And she clearly
feels very comfortable with San-
dler, which makes their romantic
moments together seem natural and

genuine, despite the sometimes-
ridiculous dialogue. The "Nothing
beats a first kiss" line is used no
less than five times - actually,
probably more like ten - in a
montage of "kissing moments."
Every time is like the first time,
because she doesn't remember the
previous kisses. Clever, isn't it? By
the end of the montage sequence,
the line, at first harmlessly cute,

becomes vomit-inducing.
Segal's choice of music saturated
with swelling violins and tinkling
wind chimes to underscore these
"touching" moments doesn't help
the problematic dialogue. He
should give his actors more credit
and allow the romance to bloom
through their interactions, not
through sweeping music or trite
exchanges.

Soundtrack's pop tributes to '80s love songs fall flat

By Evan McGarvey
Daily Arts Writer

The cinematic dumping ground of Febru-
ary usually yields nothing more than a
refuse pile of studio-delayed films. Their
matching soundtracks are equally as scatter-
shot. "50 First Dates," the newest Adam San-
dler.romantic-comedy claptrap, doesn't just
have a weak soundtrack, it has a reprehensi-
ble one.
Packaging on the album proclaims it as a
concept album of "classic" '80s love songs
"interpreted" by modern pop stars such as
Jason Mraz and Sugar Ray's frontman, Mark
McGrath.

Inifying themes and c6lhesion usually
bode well for an album. Unfortunately, when
that cohesion means reducing every song to
a pathetic attempt at reg- _
gae with a plodding,
lethargic tempo, all it Various
does is unify the poor Artists
quality. 50 First Dates
The Black Eyed Peas' Soundtrack
Will.I.Am and Fergie
stumble through a saccha- Maverick
rin, popping version of
Spandau Ballet's "True." Fergie's heavy
breathing and limp vibrato makes Will.I.Am
and his bland raps an almost welcome
reprieve. Elsewhere, Mraz does his best on a
meandering version of the Modern English
classic "Melt With You." His guitar is happi-

ly drowned ou'diYihe song, but the replace-
ment isn't much better - slow reggae per-
cussion-anldweakcTeverb effects erase any
fondness the listener might have for the
original's carefree guitar lines. UB40's mas-
sacre of The Police's hit, "Every Breath You
Take" is played on what sounds like a dilapi-
dated Cancun soundstage with rusty horns.
Fans of The Cure will also weep. "Friday,
I'm In Love" and "Love Song" are vandal-
ized by Dryden Mitchell, the lead singer of
Alien Ant Farm, and 311, respectively.
To serve as the sour icing on the cake,
Adam Sandler phones in "Forgetful Lucy" to
try and convince his dwindling fan base that
he's still got it. The best advice at this point
is to hibernate until the summer and wait for
some legitimate soundtracks.

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