50 First Dates

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50 First Dates
Theatrical poster
Directed by Peter Segal
Produced by Jack Giarraputo
Steve Golin
Nancy Juvonen
Written by George Wing
Starring Adam Sandler
Drew Barrymore
Rob Schneider
Sean Astin
Lusia Strus
Blake Clark
Dan Aykroyd
Music by Teddy Castellucci
Cinematography Jack N. Green
Edited by Jeff Gourson
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • February 13, 2004 (2004-02-13)
Running time
99 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $75 million[1]
Box office $196.5 million[1]

50 First Dates is a 2004 American romantic comedy film directed by Peter Segal and written by George Wing. The film stars Adam Sandler as a lothario veterinarian and Drew Barrymore as an amnesiac, along with Rob Schneider, Sean Astin, Lusia Strus, Blake Clark, and Dan Aykroyd.

Most of the film was shot on location in Oahu, Hawaii on the Windward side and the North Shore. Sandler and Barrymore won an MTV award.

The fictitious memory impairment suffered by Barrymore's character, Goldfield's Syndrome, is similar to short term memory loss and Anterograde amnesia.


Henry Roth is a veterinarian at Sea Life Park on the island of Oahu who has a reputation of womanizing female tourists. He shows no interest in committing to a serious relationship and his closest friends are Ula, a marijuana-smoking Islander; his assistant Alexa, whose sexuality and gender is unclear; Willy, his pet African penguin and Jocko, a walrus.

One day Henry’s boat breaks down while he is sailing around Oahu. He goes to the Hukilau Café to wait for the Coast Guard. There, he sees a young woman named Lucy Whitmore, who makes architectural art with her waffles. Henry assumes she is a local, which prevents him from introducing himself, but the next day he comes back. Lucy and he hit it off instantly and she asks him to meet her again tomorrow morning.

When Henry goes back to the café, Lucy shows no recollection of ever meeting him. The restaurant owner Sue (Amy Hill) explains to Henry that one year ago, Lucy and her father Marlin went up to the North Shore to pick a pineapple for his birthday. On the way back, they got into a serious car accident that left Lucy with anterograde amnesia and wakes up every morning thinking it is October 13 of last year. To save her the heartbreak of reliving the accident every day, Marlin and Doug, Lucy’s lisping steroid-addicted brother, relive Marlin's birthday by doing numerous tasks, including putting out October 13's Sunday newspaper, re-watching the same Vikings game, and refilling Lucy’s shampoo bottles.

Despite Sue’s warning, Henry decides to try and get Lucy to have breakfast with him. Eventually he does, but it ends poorly when Henry unintentionally hurts Lucy’s feelings. He follows her home to apologize where Marlin and Doug instruct Henry to leave Lucy alone. Henry begins concocting ways to run into Lucy through the following days such as pretending to have car trouble, creating a fake road block, or by having Ula beat him up. Eventually, Marlin and Doug figure this out due to Lucy singing The Beach Boys "Wouldn't It Be Nice" on the days when she meets Henry.

One day, as Henry is about to sit with Lucy at breakfast, she notices a police officer writing her a ticket for her expired plates. Lucy attempts to argue that they are not yet expired, and takes a newspaper to prove herself, but sees that the date on all the newspapers is not October as she thought, and Marlin and Doug are forced to admit their ruse when she confronts them.

Henry comes up with an idea to make a video explaining to Lucy her accident and their relationship and play it every morning for her. She watched the tape and is hurt, but eventually comes to her senses and she is able to spend the day by picking up where the tape says she left off. She spends more time with Henry and goes to see some of her old friends. Lucy decides to erase Henry completely from her life after learning of his decision not to take a sailing trip to Bristol Bay to study walruses, something he has been planning for the past 10 years. He feels he cannot leave Lucy for the year it will take him. Henry reluctantly helps her destroy her journal entries of their relationship.

A few weeks later, Henry is preparing to leave for his sailing trip. Before he goes, Marlin tells him that Lucy is now living at the brain institute and teaching an art class. He also tells him that she sings. Then, he gives Henry a Beach Boys CD. Listening to the CD, Henry becomes emotional and curses Marlin for giving him the CD and making him feel so emotional. He then remembers that Marlin once told him that Lucy always sings after she meets him. He then realizes that Lucy remembers him and turns around to go home. She says she does not remember, but then she dreams about him every night and paints pictures of him. They reconcile.

Some time later, Lucy wakes up and plays the tape marked “Good Morning Lucy”. It again reminds her of her accident, but ends with her and Henry’s wedding. From the tape, Henry says to put a jacket on and come have breakfast when she is ready. Lucy then sees that she is on Henry’s boat, which finally made it to Alaska. She goes up on deck and meets Marlin, Henry and their young daughter, Nicole.


  • Adam Sandler as Henry Roth, a marine veterinarian with a talent for wooing women and a fear of commitment
  • Drew Barrymore as Lucy Whitmore, Henry's love interest with short-term memory loss
  • Rob Schneider as Ula, Henry's marijuana-smoking, native Hawaiian assistant; he is unhappily married to an overweight native woman and has five young, athletically talented children
  • Sean Astin as Doug Whitmore, Lucy's older brother, a lisping, steroid-dependent bodybuilder
  • Blake Clark as Marlin Whitmore, Lucy's widowed father, a professional fisherman
  • Lusia Strus as Alexa, Henry's ambiguously gendered assistant
  • Dan Aykroyd as Dr. Keats, a physician specializing in brain disorders
  • Amy Hill as Sue, the Hukilau café manager and friend of Lucy and her late mother
  • Pomaika'i Brown as Nick, the Hukilau café chef.
  • Allen Covert as Ten-Second Tom, a hospital patient with severe memory impairment
  • Missi Pyle as Noreen, a tax attorney Henry meets at a bar but then tries to fix up with Alexa
  • Maya Rudolph as Stacy, pregnant friend of Lucy's at beach party
  • Kevin James as Factory worker
  • Lynn Collins as Linda
  • Joshua Seth (uncredited) as a painter
  • Greg Cipes (uncredited) as a painter
  • Dee Bradley Baker (uncredited) as a man at the restaurant
  • Scott Menville (uncredited) as a man at the restaurant


The film was originally titled "50 First Kisses",[2] but this was changed to avoid confusion with Never Been Kissed,[citation needed] another film with Drew Barrymore.


Most of the film was shot on location in Kaneohe, Kaʻaʻawa, Wahiawā, Makapuʻu, and Waimānalo, Oahu, as well as in Kāne'ohe Bay. To save money (because of the high cost of filming outside of the studio zone), some interior scenes (such as inside the Whitmore residence) were shot on sets in Los Angeles carefully decorated to look like they were in Hawaii.

The walrus tank is actually in Vallejo, California's Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, and the golf course is in Los Angeles, California.

Critical reception [edit]

The film received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 44% based on 172 reviews, and the site's consensus states [that the] "Gross-out humor overwhelms the easy chemistry between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, who bring some energy and yucks to this tale of a girl with short-term memory loss and the guy who tries to get her to love him."[3]

Critics who enjoyed the film (such as The New York Times reviewer A.O. Scott) praised the uplifting story while lamenting the seemingly excessive and incongruous amount of crude humor and drug references.[4] Roger Ebert gave it three out of four stars, saying "The movie is sort of an experiment for Sandler. He reveals the warm side of his personality, and leaves behind the hostility, anger and gross-out humor... The movie doesn't have the complexity and depth of Groundhog Day... but as entertainment it's ingratiating and lovable."[5]

Sandler and Barrymore won the award for Best On-Screen Team at the MTV Movie Awards. The two actors, who had previously worked together in the popular film The Wedding Singer, are said to regard 50 First Dates as one of their favorite personal efforts.[citation needed]

Fictional medical condition[edit]

In an article in the BMJ on depictions of amnesia in film, clinical neuropsychologist Sallie Baxendale writes that 50 First Dates "maintains a venerable movie tradition of portraying an amnesic syndrome that bears no relation to any known neurological or psychiatric condition".[6] A 2010 article in the Daily Mail newspaper claimed a similar condition afflicted a UK woman who cannot remember anything after 1994 as a result of two car accidents (one in 1985 and the other in 1990).[7] The article quotes Dr. Peter Nestor, a neuroscience specialist at Cambridge University, who said "It is reasonably rare to have this kind of amnesia but it does exist."

In 2010, researchers described a woman who developed the kind of memory impairment after she was involved in a car accident. She described that her memory was normal for events on the same day and that overnight memories for the previous day were lost. However, a neuropsychological test did reveal some improvement in recall for tasks which she had, unknowingly, performed the previous day. Though the woman claimed not to have seen 50 First Dates prior to her 2005 accident (but has watched it several times since), she stated that Drew Barrymore was her favorite actress, leading researchers to conclude that her condition might have been influenced by some knowledge of the film's plot, and its impact upon her understanding of amnesia.[8]

Ten-second-Tom's ten-second memory is similar to the second-to-second consciousness of Clive Wearing, a British man whose long- and short-term memory centers were destroyed from a viral infection of the brain caused by the herpes virus.

Cultural references[edit]

Dan Aykroyd's character mentions that the brain institute is funded by auto parts manufacturer T.B. Callahan of Sandusky, Ohio. This is a reference to the film Tommy Boy, where fellow SNL alumnus Chris Farley plays Tommy Callahan, an inept party boy who must save his father's auto parts company from his father's gold-digging widow and her son/lover. Dan Aykroyd's character unwittingly becomes the savior of Callahan Auto by placing a large purchase order.


50 First Dates: Love songs from the Original Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released February 3, 2004 (2004-02-03)
Genre Ska, reggae, new wave
Length 49:37
Label Maverick
Producer Nick Hexum

The soundtrack contains cover versions of songs that were originally recorded in the 1980s. This includes mostly reggae or ska covers, due to their emphasized upbeat that gives a tropical or Hawaiian feel. It was a moderate commercial hit, reaching #30 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the Top Soundtracks chart and Top Reggae Albums chart in the United States.

Despite being prominently featured in the film, neither Israel Kamakawiwoʻole's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"/"What a Wonderful World" nor The Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice" were included on the soundtrack.

The soundtrack was produced by 311's frontman, Nick Hexum. 311 provided a cover of The Cure's Lovesong for the soundtrack. It is heard over the film's end credits.

No. Title Writer(s) Artist Length
1. "Hold Me Now" (Thompson Twins) Tom Bailey, Alannah Currie, Joe Leeway Wayne Wonder 4:12
2. "Lovesong" (The Cure) Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Porl Thompson, Boris Williams, Roger O'Donnell 311 3:28
3. "Lips Like Sugar" (Echo & the Bunnymen) Will Sergeant, Ian McCulloch, Les Pattinson Seal featuring Mikey Dread 5:00
4. "Your Love (L.O.V.E. Reggae Mix)" (The Outfield) John Spinks Wyclef Jean featuring Eve 4:13
5. "Drive" (The Cars) Ric Ocasek Ziggy Marley 4:26
6. "True" (Spandau Ballet) Gary Kemp will.i.am & Fergie 4:24
7. "Slave to Love" (Bryan Ferry) Ferry Elan Atias
(backing vocals by Gwen Stefani)
8. "Every Breath You Take" (The Police) Sting UB40 3:55
9. "The Ghost in You" (The Psychedelic Furs) Richard Butler, Tim Butler Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray 3:01
10. "Friday I'm in Love" (The Cure) Smith, Gallup, Thompson, Williams, Perry Bamonte Dryden Mitchell of Alien Ant Farm 3:21
11. "Breakfast in Bed" (Dusty Springfield, 1969/UB40 featuring Chrissie Hynde, 1988) Eddie Hinton, Donnie Fritts Nicole Kea (Nicole Scherzinger) 3:36
12. "I Melt With You" (Modern English) Robbie Grey, Gary McDowell, Stephen Walker, Michael Conroy, Richard Brown Jason Mraz 3:36
13. "Forgetful Lucy"   Sandler, Allen Covert, Tim Herlihy Adam Sandler 1:51
Total length:
Other songs in the film

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "50 First Dates". 
  2. ^ Edelstein, David (February 13, 2004). "Adam Sandler Makes Nice". Slate. Retrieved June 2, 2013. 
  3. ^ "50 First Dates (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Archived from the original on 25 March 2010. Retrieved 2010. 
  4. ^ Scott, A.O. (February 13, 2004). "FILM REVIEW; A Love That's Forever, If Only for a Day". New York Times. Retrieved April 26, 2013. 
  5. ^ "50 First Dates". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  6. ^ Baxendale, Sallie (December 18, 2004). "Memories aren't made of this: amnesia at the movies". BMJ 329 (7480): 1480–1483. doi:10.1136/bmj.329.7480.1480. PMC 535990. PMID 15604191. 
  7. ^ Andrew Levy (11 June 2010). "Two car crashes leave Michelle Philpots 24 hour memory". Daily Mail. 
  8. ^ Christine N. Smith, Jennifer C. Frascino, Donald L. Kripke, Paul R. McHugh, Glenn J. Treisman, Larry R. Squire (May 2010). "Losing memories overnight: a unique form of human amnesia". Neuropsychologia 48 (10): 2833–40. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.05.025. PMC 2914200. PMID 20493889. 

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