Film / 50 First Dates

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50 First Dates is a 2004 American Romantic Comedy film. It stars Adam Sandler as a woman-chasing veterinarian (Henry) and Drew Barrymore (Lucy) as an amnesiac due to a brain injury during a car accident.

Henry is an ocean wildlife veterinarian in Hawaii who has built up a reputation of seducing attractive tourists who are looking to blow off some steam. In a chance encounter, he meets Lucy at a local restaurant and they connect, they have a great first date but the next day she looks at him like he's a stranger. He learns her injury permanently damaged her ability to form new long term memories, forgetting everything when she goes to bed and starts the next day as though it was the day of the accident. Her closest friends and family have resolved to let her believe it is the day of the accident.

Recognizing the difficulty of building a relationship with someone who will never remember him the next day, Henry finds himself unable to just let her go. So he resolves to "meet" her and have her fall in love with him anew every day. Hilarity Ensues.

This film provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: When Henry has Ula pretend to beat him up as one of his attempts at a Meet Cute with Lucy, Lucy takes a baseball bat and comes to his "rescue."
  • Almost Kiss: Defied. When Henry reunites with Lucy after several weeks of separation, they are about to kiss...until 10-second Tom breaks in for no apparent reason. But then, Henry shoos him away and continues the kiss, anyway.
  • Aloha Hawaii
  • Ambiguous Gender: Alexa.
  • Ambiguously Gay
    • Doug speaks with a lisp and fits into the Gym Bunny stereotype.
    • The opening montage hints that Henry has had a relationship with a man, though it might have just been a one-sided crush.
  • Amnesiac Lover
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!
    • Lucy remembers everything only up until her accident.
    • Also, Ten-Second Tom, whose memory span is a period of ten seconds.
      Tom: "Hi, I'm Tom!" (ten seconds later) "Hi, I'm Tom!"
  • Award Bait Song: "Love Song" by 311.
  • Batter Up
  • Bittersweet Ending: Lucy never truly recovers, though she does dream about Henry enough to almost remember him. The two marry and have a child, though Lucy still has to watch tapes of the events of her life since the accident to truly remember both of them. Clearly, they are making the best of a bad situation.
  • Distant Finale: Lucy wakes up and watches the "Good morning, Lucy" video, which shows her the October 13 accident and her friends wishing her happiness as usual,...except that it ends with her and Henry's wedding. And then she comes outside to find that she's on board Henry's boat to Alaska, with Henry, Marlin, and her toddler daughter, Nicole, for company.
  • The Ditz: Doug.
  • Dramatic Irony: The primary conflict of the film. Because Lucy's anterograde amnesia makes her unable to form new memories after a period of 24 hours, she wakes up everyday thinking that it's October 13 of the previous year. Unless she is told herself, she doesn't follow any developments of her social circle afterward, including her friends' marriage or parenthood. The most important thing, however, is that she doesn't remember ever falling in love with Henry, as to her, he's a new person everyday, even though they've been dating for weeks and possibly months. Exemplified best during a montage of the falls-in-love.
    Lucy: Nothing beats a first kiss.
    Henry: Yeah.
    (the next day)
    Lucy: Nothing beats a first kiss.
    Henry: Yeah.
    (repeated several times)
  • Easy Amnesia: Averted. Also, Lucy is suffering from post-trauma memory loss. While it's much more common in real life, it's rarely depicted in cinema.
  • Falling in Love Montage: Which repeats itself because of Lucy's amnesia, although Henry does his best to make it different each time.
  • Funny Background Event: In one scene, Doug climbs to a chandelier and starts doing vertical sit-ups there. Both the chandelier and Doug then fall down.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Due to Lucy's amnesia.
  • Hollywood Science: The exact type of amnesia depicted in film where an individual loses their memory of the last 24 hours when they wake up in the morning, referred to in the film as Goldfield Syndrome, does not exist. However, in the years since the film came out, a woman named Michelle Philpots was discovered to suffer from a case of anterograde amnesia that closely resembled the fictional condition in the film. Though in her case, she also has severe problems with memory over the course of the same day (as opposed to the film's neat "24 hour memory" plot).
  • I Have This Friend: Used by Doug about his steroid use.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: This is why Lucy tries to cut Henry out of her life so he doesn't have to dedicate his life to caring for her.
  • In the Local Tongue: After Ulla says something deep and meaningful sounding to Henry as they are saying goodbye:
    Henry: Thanks buddy, that's beautiful. What's it mean again?
    Ulla: Bring me back a t-shirt.note 
  • Internal Reveal: The audience already knows Lucy's predicament, but Lucy herself doesn't realize this until the expired ticket incident. Which she has to relieve every single day after for the rest of her life.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Henry's love-life consisted entirely of vacation flings with tourists until he met Lucy.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Lucy's condition is Handwaved away as being because "she can't convert her short-term memory into long-term memory in her sleep". Basically, she is totally normal except that every time she goes to sleep (what if she stays up on a 48-hour bender? Or if she takes an afternoon nap?) she forgets everything that happened since a car accident a year before the story starts. Her family and friends go to great lengths to keep her from noticing that years have passed since the day of her accident. When Henry learns about this, he calls bullshit on them, asking if they haven't wondered what will happen when Lucy suddenly wakes up and is in her forties.
  • Man Of My Dreams: Henry, for Lucy.
  • Meet Cute: Henry has one with Lucy, but Lucy has a new one with him every day.
  • Memory Gambit: Lucy eventually attempts to erase Henry from her memory, so she wouldn't screw up his plans to go to the Arctic and study walruses (or walri; the species he studies is ambiguously ambiguous). It ultimately fails, however, as she dreams about him almost every night and has an art studio full of paintings she's made of him.
  • Never Learned to Read: Henry uses this as a trick to get Lucy to talk to him on one of the many days he introduces himself to her in the diner. He splashes water on his eyes and acts like he's crying until she comes to see what's wrong. When he confesses that he can't read the menu, she spends all morning sitting with him "teaching" him. He blows it though when he doesn't ask her for a second date (because he knows she won't remember) and she gets furious and reveals that she knew the whole thing was a ploy and went along with it because she liked him.
  • Note to Self: Lucy keeps a journal (later a video tape) since she loses her memory every day.
  • Overprotective Dad: Lucy's father does everything to make sure his daughter keeps reliving the same day and won't freak out. He also repeatedly tells Henry to stay away from Lucy. In the end, he joins Henry and Lucy as they leave Hawaii. Doug and the cafe denizens definitely have this vibe, too, possibly to a greater extent. Justified because of Lucy's condition.
    • Henry actually calls Marlin out for enforcing this trope to an extreme extent by continually making Lucy living in a state of denial and not taking into factor of her future, or what would happen if she suddenly wakes up to see an old woman looking at her back from a mirror.
  • Scary Polynesian Man: Nick aka "Tattoo Face"
    Nick: Hey, mister peanut butter cups!
    Henry: Hey, mister could-kill-me-with-one-punch!
  • Relationship Reset Button: Constantly for the rest of their life.
  • Pair the Spares: It's sort of implied that Alexa and Doug hook up in the end.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The penguin, especially when he's wearing his little Hawaiian shirt.
  • Running Gag
  • Scenery Porn: Makes great use of Hawaiian locations and vistas.
  • Shout-Out
    • The Callahan Institute was "founded out of Sandusky Ohio by TB Callahan, the automotive components tycoon".
      • To make it even clearer, Dan Aykroyd is the one who's saying the previous line.
    • When Henry is golfing with Ula and his kids, Ula attempts (badly) the trademark Happy Gilmore swing, only for Henry to say it's "the stupidest thing [he's] ever seen." The best is the kids then executing an adorable (and highly successful) version, in unison.
    • Ula is based on a real guy.
    • The two dolphins at Henry's place are named Mary-Kate and Ashley.
    • Lucy's family watches The Sixth Sense. Complete with Lucy being surprised at learning that Malcolm-er, Bruce Willis is a ghost, while her dad and brother just nod uninterestedly because they already know that.
    • Lucy reads Still Life With Woodpecker - A Sort Of A Love Story by Tom Robbins.
    • The Beach Boys is mentioned several times during the film and their music is played.
  • Tagline: "Imagine having to win over the girl of your dreams... every friggin' day."
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The cop that cites Lucy's car for being expired, is what leads to Lucy discovering about her memory loss issue.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The Walrus.


Alternative Title(s): Fifty First Dates

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/FiftyFirstDates