My Date with Drew (2004) / Documentary-Comedy

MPAA Rated: PG for language
Running Time: 90 min.

Cast: Brian Herzlinger, Brett Winn, Jon Gunn, Eric Roberts, Corey Feldman, John August
Director: Brian Herzlinger, Jon Gunn, Brett Winn
Screenplay: Brian Herzlinger

My Date with Drew is what you might dub a "dessert documentary", not very different from the kinds of fluffy and banal things you'd see on a typical reality show, meant strictly for entertainment and nothing more.  For what it is, Brian Herzlinger's film definitely delivers on entertainment, keeping the viewer reeled in with his unique goofball humor, funny asides, and some pretty good editing of the material into a tight and progressive package.  While it may lack for production value, it doesn't for inspiration, making this a different kind of "date" movie that can be enjoyed by anyone looking for some light and witty escapism.

Herzlinger, a fan of Drew Barrymore's since he was the age of 10 (they are contemporaries, roughly), won $1,100 on a television game show, where the final answer was, coincidentally, "Drew Barrymore".  Thinking some sort of cosmic twist must be at play, he decides he's going to use his prize money for another contest of his own design -- he wants to score a date with Drew in 30 days, the amount of time the video camera he "bought" at Circuit City can be used before it is returned for a full refund.  With the help of his friends and a miniscule budget to work with, he tries to get to Drew, primarily through friends of friends of friends.  Every avenue seems to turn up a dead end.  With time and money winding down, the big question looms ever larger -- is it Drew or bust?

There are so many ways this premise could have backfired, especially with some of the questionable practices engaged by the makers, including taking advantage of Circuit City's limited guarantee, phony-ing up a staff pass at a movie premiere, and other arguably unethical behavior.  Most people attempting to push their way into a date with a famous celebrity, or with anyone that they don't really know for that matter, would seem like stalker material, but Herzlinger manages to avoid this label.  From inception to end, Herzlinger's quixotic quest to nab a date with the seemingly unapproachable Drew Barrymore comes off as sweet and harmless.  He's geeky and a bit uncouth at times, but there is definitely a good, well-meaning guy front and center, and despite the folly of his quest, we can't help but root for him all of the way.

I suppose given the fact that she's on the box, it would be a safe guess that Drew Barrymore endorses the film somewhat, allowing the use of her image and name to promote it.  I won't spoil the main question in stating to those that haven't seen the film as to whether or not Herzlinger is successful in achieving a date with Barrymore, as that is a huge rooting interest.  Even if you were to know the answer, there are still some memorably funny bits to be had along the way, so whether or not Drew makes an appearance is almost superfluous. Still, it definitely would be the perfect way to punctuate a charming movie, wouldn't it?

My Date with Drew isn't going to win any awards for cinematic brilliance by any means, but it is a refreshing, fun and unique sort of movie.  It shows that anyone out there with a clever idea and the determination to do it can actually make something worthwhile for the rest of us to see and enjoy -- sort of like an edited living blog of funny events. 

Drew Barrymore herself is quoted as saying, "If you don't take risks, you'll have a wasted soul".  If for no other reason, Herzlinger's can now be said to not be wasted, as he imbues this quaint and highly entertaining movie with lots of soul -- and heart as well.

Qwipster's rating:

2006 Vince Leo