FIRST DATE – Review by Lois Alter Mark
First Date feels like the kind of movie you come across in the middle of the night when you’re channel surfing because you can’t sleep and all you find is junk.
Looking like a low budget amateur effort from another decade, First Date is the directorial feature debut from Darren Knapp and Manuel Crosby. The story revolves around Mike (Tyson Brown), a shy teen who finally gets up the nerve to call the girl he has a crush on, Kelsey (Shelby Duclos, who deserves so much better than this). They make a plan to go out that night but Mike doesn’t have a car so he buys a beat up old ’65 Chrysler from a sleazy guy and ends up with way more problems than he bargained for, including a lot of gun-toting criminals.
The movie is billed as a dark comedy but the emphasis is definitely on “dark.” It’s rarely funny or clever and, although Brown has a sweet innocence that’s appealing, he isn’t given enough focus or depth. He merely becomes the reason for all the action. The filmmakers seem much more interested in the violence and the outrageousness of the other characters, who are too over the top to be compelling.
Somewhere in this mess is a coming of age story that could have had potential. After all, who doesn’t love a good teen movie about a couple who have to overcome obstacles in order to finally get together? But that story is so secondary here, I may just be giving Knapp and Crosby the benefit of the doubt. Obviously, they cared more about the shoot ‘em up aspect of their tale than the flesh and blood characters at the heart of it.
So, if you come across First Date in the middle of the night when you’re channel surfing because you can’t sleep, do yourself a favor and go back to bed.