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Film: 50 First Dates

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. Henry has a great first date with Lucy, but discovers that the next day she has no clue who he is. Unfortunately, a freak brain injury has permanently damaged her ability to form new long term memories and she forgets everything when she goes to bed and starts the next day as a clean slate. Henry isn't daunted by this, however, and resolves to make her fall in love with him anew every day. Hilarity Ensues.

This film provides examples of:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • "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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The penguin, especially when he's wearing his little Hawaiian shirt.
  • Running Gag: "Hi, I'm Tom."
    • The fact that he can't remember anything for 10 seconds pretty much justifies it.
    • Doug's obvious steroid intake.
  • 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.
  • 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.


The 40-Year-Old VirginRomantic Comedy(500) Days of Summer
9 SongsFilms of 2000 - 2004 After the Sunset

alternative title(s): Fifty First Dates
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