No matter how old we get in life, going on a first date is always a bit nerve-racking. First Date takes that notion to the extreme in an otherwise wacky movie that is heavily inspired by the writing of Quentin Tarantino. The film is loaded with numerous bouts of dialogue, excessive language and that all too famous Mexican standoff near the end of the film. Co-directors and screenwriters Manuel Crosby and Darren Knapp make their debut with this feature film and the result is an enjoyable experience that offers plenty of laughs even if the movie proves to be too much for its own good.
The movie follows Mike (Tyson Brown) who is about to left home alone while his parents go on vacation without him. Mike is interested in his next-door neighbor named Kelsey (Shelby Duclos). He’s been thinking about asking her out on a date but can’t bring himself to ask the question. His friend Brett (Josh Fesler) encourages him to do by giving Mike her phone number and forcing him to call her. They engage in a nice albeit awkward conversation. Kelsey suggests they hang out later and together they plan to meet later in the evening. There is one problem though. Mike needs some wheels. He doesn’t have a car. How is he going to impress the next-door neighbor girl?
Mike gets a lead on a car that’s for sale and with a couple of grand in his pocket he pays a visit to the seller. What was supposed to be a simple Toyota car for sell, turns out to be a 1965 Chevy that has seen better days. One would say that it looks pretty vintage and it even comes with an eight-track player! After some encouragement, Mike purchases the car and gets ready to pick up Kelsey for their date; but he never gets there. Sure enough, problems begin to the persist and Mike is faced with dealing with the cops, criminals and one nutbag cat lady who can’t shoot to save her life.
It’s here that we learn that Mike’s new car is a popular item in town and that he has become a marked man so to speak. We then meet the remaining cast of characters who are truly a sight to see. They complain, cry and moan about everything that is happening to them and yet never come up with a solution on how to fix the problem that they have to deal with. I won’t get into specifics here, but as the movie unfolds the “book club gang” become more of a nuisance than being interesting characters. Much of the dialogue in the movie is taken straight from Tarantino, with a specific nod to True Romance in particular. It’s a bit overdone and that’s putting it lightly. In fact, most of the characters are aimed at being comic relief, but the more we see them, the more we want them to meet a deadly end.
On a positive note, I did enjoy the energy of the movie along with the bittersweet romance and awkwardness between Mike and Kelsey. It reminds us of when we had our first date. As for the main story itself, it’s nothing really special and if you’re a fan of Tarantino, then you’ll recognize a plenty of moments that the directors obviously borrowed from. I liked the style of the movie and how it was presented and being a debut film for these directors does show promise in the future projects that I will be looking forward too. My main complaint is that this movie’s structure wasn’t exactly a smooth transition and while it does get insane towards the end, I do believe that was the point all along.
Score 3.5 out of 5
First Date is a gleefully entertaining movie that is very funny and enjoyable to a fault. I praise both Tyson Brown and Shelby Duclos in their performances and while everyone else is fine, we’ve seen this before in better movies, notably written by Tarantino. Still, that’s not to say that this is a bad film, it certainly is a quirky movie to watch. I laughed and I enjoyed it for what it was. If you looking for something different, but reminiscent of films from the nineties, then First Date is one to look out for. If anything else, it’ll be fun to talk about with your friends.