Alyson Hannigan is movie's saving grace
But that alone isn't the worst of "Date Movie's" problems. Written by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer -- two of the six writers on "Scary Movie" -- this spoof comedy makes no attempt at being clever with its parodies. Instead, the writers assume that the audience will be tickled just to recognize the movie references presented almost verbatim. And since there's very little effort involved, the filmmakers are able to stack the spoofs deep and sell 'em cheap.
The film does, however, spend time on extended scenes of the lowest gross-out humor. Whether it's Hannigan popping a pus-filled zit or the "Meet the Parents" cat experiencing flatulence, "Date Movie" beats that dead horse so far into the ground, it's embedded in the earth's core where even Jules Verne can't access it.
Thinly plotted, the film cobbles together a half-hearted love story in which overweight Julia Jones (Hannigan) yearns for her one true love. It's not until she gets an extreme makeover from West Side Customs -- complete with liposuction -- that she finds Brit charmer Grant Funkyerdoder (Adam Campbell). They quickly fall for each other, but their love is thwarted by disapproving parents -- a la "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and "Meet the Parents" -- and a hot female rival -- with shades of "My Best Friend's Wedding" and "Kill Bill."
There are a few minor chuckles, such as a quick reference to the krump dancing documentary "Rize" (although the target audience might only recognize the dancing, not the reference) and a "Bridget Jones's Diary" spoof in which Julia lists her alcohol units as "Tara Reid status." But on the whole, this film is better suited for a drinking game -- take a shot for every uninspired reference -- than actual non-alcoholic entertainment.
Hannigan is the saving grace of this film, gamely looking foolish in every frame. Her halting, nervous speech and crooked smile give Julia a sweetness that's certainly not scripted. As her love interest, Campbell is appealing in an unthreatening, floppy-haired way. Australian pop star Sophie Monk is a standout as Julia's rival Andy, mainly for her pouty lips and perfect, all-over body tan.
Although "Date Movie" is supposed to be a good-natured tribute to romantic comedies, it's really no more romantic than "Scary Movie" is scary. There wouldn't be anything wrong with that, but since it's not funny either, the only warm feeling the film will inspire is irritation.