Blind Dating (2007)
Blind Dating (2007)

Genre: Romantic Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 35 min.

Release Date: May 11th, 2007 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: James Keach Actors: Chris Pine, Anjali Jay, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Stephen Tobolowsky, Pooch Hall, Jenny Alden, Katy Mixon, Jayma Mays

 


 

“B

lind Dating” is one of those sadly frequent films that just can’t rise above being completely mediocre. Failing to bring anything new to the romantic comedy table (and even going so far as to deliberately mislead with its theatrical trailer), this catastrophe is so poorly contrived that even the twists on conventional boy-meets-girl concepts appear hopelessly trivial. It’s as if this entire project was conceived just to take advantage of the titular pun.

Even though Danny (Chris Pine) is literally blind, it doesn’t stop him from going on a series of blind dates, set up by his often sarcastic and cruel brother Larry (Eddie Kaye Thomas from the “American Pie” series). After numerous botched attempts at alleviating the awkwardness of meeting girls, Danny realizes he is intrigued by the secretary at the doctor’s office he’s been visiting for information on a neurological surgery that may help him to see. Although Leeza (Anjali Jay) falls for him as well, his opportunity for happiness comes crashing down with the news of her preplanned betrothal. This in turn forces Leeza to come to terms with her Indian heritage and the tradition of arranged marriages – and whether or not Danny is worth the decision to betray those customs.

While that synopsis might sound mildly amusing, the plot is, in fact, wholly unoriginal. The classic “boy meets girl, loses girl, and then regains girl” formula has been done countless times in an equally infinite number of scenarios. Here, the only smart twist is Danny’s actual blindness, except that the filmmakers chose to work around it in such a way that it frequently poses no significance on the characters. If the protagonist was debilitatingly insecure instead, the entire film could play out in the exact same way, unaltered. The blindness aspect is really only utilized a handful of times early on to generate slapstick; it’s essentially a punch line that exhausts itself five minutes in. The only other marginally unique element is the love interest’s Indian descent, but her ethnicity becomes moot when the focus leans more toward her simply having a preexisting engagement, not a traditionally arranged marriage with a stranger or an antagonist.

Early on, the film presents itself as a comedy, making use of Danny’s blindness to create physical follies. During one particular scene, in which he attempts to make it through an entire date without letting on to the fact that he’s blind, he’s treated to a brief striptease. While this setup has the potential for raunchy hilarity – or ridiculousness along the lines of “Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo” – the moment is cut short. After discovering Danny is blind, his date abruptly leaves. The nonexistent followthrough epitomizes the lackluster approach taken toward nearly every sequence in the picture. The PG-13 rating also hurts, though it’s obvious director James Keach wanted to craft a cleaner, more universally appropriate movie. In the end, it hardly matters, since the initial barrage of slapstick and blind jokes quickly dissipate to reveal a premise for a serious, tragic melodrama.

On the bright side, Keach spent a lot of time researching blindness and the various corrective operations, so that when depicting Danny’s actions and the surgical procedure that is available to him, the realism is high. The technology used in the film genuinely exists and the results shown are incredibly accurate. But this doesn’t prevent “Blind Dating” from remaining devoid of any outrageous, standout moments, or any unconventional storytelling techniques. It’s quite a bit like a bad date that audiences will desperately want to forget.

– Mike Massie

  • 3/10