Twenty Dates (1998)

“Let me give you a piece of advice about love. Love don’t exist. You’re going to go on 20 fucking dates, and you’re going to end up jerking off at your fucking house by yourself. OK?” The plot of this mockumentary is simple: Myles has 20 dates to see if he can find the right woman. An extremely amateurish film crew tags along to document the action (or lack of it there of). So we join Myles as he makes a futile attempt to score with a woman. He tries to pick up babes at the produce section of the supermarket. He offends one date so severely that she gets up to use the bathroom and never returns. He accompanies one date bungee jumping off a bridge and another to Marilyn Monroe’s grave. He cringes when one of his dates orders a three-pound lobster at 20 bucks a pound (all of his credit cards are tapped and he’s only got 50 bucks in his wallet). Another woman threatens to sue him after discovering he used a hidden camera on their date. He takes a swim with a Penthouse Pet. And gets fixed up with actress Tia Carrere (Wayne’s World). Around the 17th date, Myles goes out with an interior decorator named Elisabeth who actually likes him. He’s determined to get to 20 dates regardless if it means losing her or not. As an added bonus, we get to hear from Myles’ “friends” and ex-wife, the people who have had to put up with his bullshit for so long that they all deserve medals. The viewer never gets the opportunity to meet Elie Samaha, the hardcore, inflexible and profanity-spewing producer who puts up the funding for this cheapie ($60,000). We just hear his voice, a thick foreign accent, on a tape recorder (complete with subtitles). Elie constantly berates Berkowitz to throw some steamy sex into the film to make it pay off at the box office. Although the movie has a documentary feel, we also recognize that most, if not all, of these scenes were staged (a la Roger and Me). But I could have cared less. I thought the film was hysterical. With his self-deprecating sense of humor, this Berkowitz reminded me a lot of an early Woody Allen. Some critics have lambasted 20 Dates because they thought Berkowitz was too “self-centered,” “irritating,” “pompous,” “arrogant,” “annoying” and “stupid” (Roger Ebert, who gave the film 1/2 a star, called him an “obnoxious jerk”). Isn’t that the whole point of the film? If Myles were some real ladies man, would we even care about his exploits? If you ever laughed during an episode of “Love Connection” or “Blind Date,” you’ll enjoy this film. It’s great when Myles offends some classy chick with his annoying banter. He truly bombs during the majority of his 20 dates, usually by putting his foot in his mouth. Let’s face it: this jerk cares more about finishing the movie than finding his true love. Now that’s dedication to the craft!

Leave a Reply

Close Menu