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'Date' fails to make a good impression

My Date With Drew
Directed by: Brian Herzlinger, Jon Gunn, Brett Winn
Starring: Herzlinger (with a brief appearance by Drew Barrymore)
At: West Newton, Danvers
Running time: 120 minutes
Rated: PG (thematic elements, language)

In this TV reality show masquerading as a movie documentary, Brian Herzlinger is a creepy voyeur, a run-of-the-mill loser who obsesses about living the celebrity high life but lacks the talent to pull it off.

The only hope for someone like Herzlinger, a 27-year-old aspiring filmmaker who still relies heavily on his parents' checks, would be to make a movie like ''My Date With Drew," in which he turns his lifelong infatuation with Drew Barrymore into a challenge to get a date with her. He gives himself 30 days to complete the task, enlisting the help of two film-school friends, Brett Winn and Jon Gunn, also living in LA. Since he is broke, he buys the video camera for the film from Circuit City, planning to capitalize on its 30-day return policy. The film is financed with $1,100 Herzlinger won on a TV game show in which Drew Barrymore's name was his winning answer.

The first half of ''My Date With Drew" grinds on painfully, as Herzlinger turns his dorky, annoying personality into a caricature. In home-movie-style scenes, he wields ''Star Wars" light sabers in his living room or retreats to his bedroom to fail miserably at push-ups, while Winn works his Hollywood connections to get Herzlinger closer to Barrymore. Amid Herzlinger's moaning about his excessive body hair and his audition of Barrymore look-alikes so he can go on a practice date, actually meeting the actress becomes a hazy uncertainty, especially as the degrees of separation keep failing to break through to the star's inner circle. We are left having to endure Herzlinger's pitifully playing up his self-effacing charms.

But as Herzlinger gets closer to Day 30, his irritating act breaks down. His friends drag him to meet Barrymore after sneaking into the ''Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" premiere. After the event, we see Herzlinger completely vulnerable, lamenting that he became such a blubbering fool when introduced to the actress that he could not even shake her hand properly. The shallowness of reality TV -- which has made us into a nation of peeping Toms like Herzlinger -- becomes painfully obvious. The more we revel in other people's more glamorous, more entertaining lives, the easier it becomes to forget our own shortcomings, leaving them to bite us in the leg when we least expect it.

If Barrymore hadn't responded to Herzlinger's bait (around Day 80, well after Herzlinger had given up all hope), ''My Date With Drew" probably wouldn't have made it past Herzlinger's circle of friends. During their ''date," she tells him that there's ''something balanced about what you are doing," because he connected his obsession with his profession. She's right, but it's probably a balance that Herzlinger will never be lucky enough to get away with again.

Sheela Raman can be reached at

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