by Luke Baumgarten & r & My Date With Drew & r & Ever have a crush on someone you've never met? Ever have that crush last 16 years? Ever made a film about it? Yes? Then you'll probably feel solidarity with Brian Herzlinger, who has a hella huge crush on Drew Barrymore and made a disgustingly sweet movie about trying to land a date with her.
While it could have been an interesting meditation on the inherently self-referential nature of filmmaking -- Herzlinger uses the documentary about getting the date to try to get the date -- the execution was infinitely more trite than that, mostly involving Herzlinger singing oldies and exposing his hairy-ass chest. ("You think this'll be a problem?") But those are the musings of a twentysomething male, the kind of person who -- one underrepresented reader recently told me (regarding my review of The Family Stone) -- can't possibly understand or appreciate the wide meta-genre of film known as "the chick flick." Point taken.
So in an effort to cast a wider critical net, I watched My Date With Drew with two women, one age 23 and one age 50. The latter told me once that her favorite films were "anything with Sandra Bullock." If these two, an idealistic 23-year-old and a Sandra Bullock fan, aren't Herzlinger's target audience, I don't know who is. It's telling, then, that their criticisms would be so much more withering than mine. "I want to punch him so effing hard," said the younger of Mr. Herzlinger, finding his film almost unwatchable. The elder, for her part, spent most of it mutely agog. "Stop showing your chest hair," is all she could manage, occasionally. She later explained how the film gradually alienated her. "I started off thinking it was really cute, but then the guy started really getting on my nerves," she said, adding with finality, "He was too focused on his [chest] hair."
By all accounts, then, My Date With Drew flays an interesting premise with tacky, saccharine devices and a roundly myopic disregard for its audience. This may be the Blair Witch Project of documentaries, sickeningly successful by sheer ingenuity of concept. Once the conceit wears thin, though, as with Blair Witch, it becomes pretty obvious that the film says nothing and ultimately, I think, will please no one.