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'Date Movie'

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Date Movie
Directed by Aaron Seltzer
20th Century Fox, in release

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It's "from 2 of the 6 writers of Scary Movie," and like its forebear, Date Movie subscribes to the fallacy that number of parodies = number of laughs. It ain't so; still, this is less a movie to be enjoyed than tallied. Bridget Jones's Diary, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Hitch, When Harry Met Sally, Guess Who, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the Paris Hilton burger commercial, and (for the gays?) Lord of the Rings get sent through the meat grinder. But with few exceptions, all are reprocessed so minimally that it's easy to feel cheated—it takes a certain gall to pass off mere references as jokes. Thoughtful, at least, in its efforts to stave off audience confusion, Date Movie even inscribes its own Cliffs Notes: "It's like I'm trapped in a bad Mel Gibson movie," narrates Alyson Hannigan, after electrocution enables her to hear other people's thoughts. As far as Meet the Parents is concerned, spoofing simply means rehashing old gags; ditto Napoleon Dynamite, although that one wasn't funny to begin with. A kickball to the head takes more time than Dodgeball gets on-screen, and before long, the clumsiness of each additional citation provides its own kind of amusement. Pre- credits, Date Movie runs a mere 70 minutes, which increasingly seems like seven minutes, repeated 10 times. When Meet the Fockers' shitting cat is permitted a significant screen presence, the smell in the air, naturally, is one of desperation.

 
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