Thursday, 12 January 2012

My Date With Drew film review in The Daily Yomiuri on 23rd December 2006

A creepy, comic 'Date with Drew'
By Stephen Taylor / Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer

My Date With Drew
3 stars out of five
Dir: Brian Herzlinger
Featuring: Brian Herzlinger, Jon Gunn
Brett Winn, Drew Barrymore

Many of us remember having a teenage crush on a movie star. A few even retain their devotion into adulthood, albeit more discreetly. Most people quietly allow their passion to fade.

Brian Herzlinger, however, wasn't about to let his childhood idol go. After winning some money on a quiz show, the unemployed media industry hopeful from Los Angeles decided to make a film documenting his bid to get the date of his dreams.

In the documentary My Date With Drew, Herzlinger sets out on a quest, with the help of a few pals and some new friends and acquaintances, to not only meet but get a date with Charlie's Angels star and onetime friend of E.T., Drew Barrymore.

His first obstacle was rather fundamental for a filmmaker--he didn't have a camera. But wait a minute, the quick-witted Herzlinger has a cunning plan. The nice people at Circuit City appliance store offer a 30-day return policy which, conveniently, sets him a deadline for his project.

So, with good friends (and they must be good mates to arrange a month off work to help him out) Jon Gunn and Brett Winn, he sets out on his quest to get that date with Drew.

It's fascinating, if not a little voyeuristic, for the audience to observe his efforts to get closer to Barrymore.

Not that voyeurism is a bad thing in the cinema--after all fly-on-the-wall documentaries have been popular on TV for decades--but one can't help wondering if Herzlinger's interest in Barrymore is entirely healthy, either for him or the audience.

At best, like many people he has an innocent childish enthusiasm for someone, whether that's a sportsperson, musician, businessperson or, in his case, a movie star, who influenced him in his youth.

At worst, though, this film could end up as a kind of do-it-yourself guide to stalking. The film centers on his gaining admittance to the after-show party for the premiere of Charlies Angels: Full Throttle and the way he goes about achieving this could have dangerous repercussions in the wrong hands. And having never attended the first night of a movie, this reviewer never realized how easily it could be done.

That said, there are many positive aspects of this film, and I found the trials and tribulations of his project highly engaging. Herzlinger is a likeable chap, if a little dorkish, and there were times when you found yourself wanting to step in and help the poor guy out.

He starts by consulting Bill D'Elia, director of numerous TV dramas, such as Ally McBeal, The West Wing and Northern Exposure, whose advice is less than encouraging, describing his project as "a big mistake," and observing that "the dumbing of America is complete."

Nevertheless, he pushes on regardless, following up every lead and preparing for the big day if and when he meets Barrymore. These preparations include free sessions with a personal trainer and dinner on the house in a swanky restaurant in Malibu with a girl alleging to be a Drew Barrymore lookalike...well, she had blonde hair, I suppose.

His big breakthrough comes when he gets the telephone number of John August, director of the Charlie's Angels movies, but has no pen to write it down. In his enthusiasm, Herzlinger says "I'll remember the first three [numbers] and you remember the last four [numbers]," before one of his off-camera buddies reminds him, "We'll have it on tape." Amazing things, these video cameras.

After the political tub-thumping of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 and scaremongering of Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me, and in spite of any reservations over the potentially dangerous notions his hunt might put into dangerous minds, My Date With Drew is frothy relief on the documentary front. No guns, no politics, no war, just lots of fun.

The movie is currently playing.

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