Brian Herzlinger as Himself
John Mann as Himself
John August as Himself
Eric Roberts as Himself
Corey Feldman as Himself
Mixing high concept documentary with the perfect romantic comedy premise, My Date with Drew is a joyous celebration of chasing one’s dreams.
Ever since he was eight years old, Brian Herzlinger had a crush on Drew Barrymore, the young actress who found instant fame and millions of fans when she starred in Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Over twenty years later, Herzlinger wins a game show and decides to use his winnings to attain his ultimate life goal: a single date with Drew Barrymore. He gives himself the deadline of 30 days, which is also when he has to return the “rented” video camera used to make the documentary to Circuit City.
In a world where documentaries and reality television are more popular than ever, truth is becoming increasingly more entertaining then fiction. It was only time when the two worlds would collide as an average guy tries to document his move into the fantasy world that is Hollywood in such a unique manner. The result, My Date with Drew, is a great example how a dream and an idea mixed with a bit of ingenuity can achieve something that to most people would seem like a quest for fool’s gold.
Last year, Morgan Spurlock spawned a new documentary sub-genre with his high concept premise for Super Size Me, which made an easy transition to television a few months ago. At first, you would think this was an influence for Brian Herzlinger’s own film, except that My Date With Drew was shot mainly in 2003. Because it comes out so soon after Morgan Spurlock’s 30-day coup, it’s hard not to compare the two, but while Spurlock looks for information, there’s clearly a lot more heart and soul behind Herzlinger’s quest. He just wants to meet someone who he’s admired his entire life.
Your first impression is that Brian Herzlinger is an obsessed stalker, but his intentions are more innocent and even sweet: he’s not looking for any kind of relationship; he just wants to meet the actress. You would think that it wouldn’t be so hard, but Herzlinger quickly learns that it’s not so easy to get the attention of a celebrity as famous as Barrymore. It gives you a good idea what it sometimes takes for a journalist to get a celebrity interview.
It’s quite amazing to watch Brian and his friends plot their strategy, first by using their Hollywood connections to try to find someone who knows Drew, and then trying to find someone who knows someone who knows her. At least the latter isn’t so hard to find in Hollywood. He ends up interviewing screenwriter John August, who wrote the “Charlie’s Angels” movies, as well as Hollywood also-rans like Corey Feldman and Eric Roberts.
Technically, the documentary is great, doing exactly what it’s meant to do, which is to follow Herzlinger’s quest as it unfolds. The movie doesn’t just follow his Drewquest though, because he’s also pretty much broke except for the gameshow money, and he has to balance his time dedicated to the movie with tryng to find a job and keep from being evicted, all of which is documented. The non-existent budget means that the movie is fairly low-fi with few bells and whistles, but the reason it all works is because Herzlinger seems like such an incredibly nice guy, always likeable and charming, that you find yourself rooting for him as he tries to get over each successive speed bump.
As you begin to doubt that he’ll ever get a chance to meet her, things finally comes to a head when he concocts a sneaky plan to crash the after-party for the Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle premiere. It’s the climax of the film, which is almost painful to watch as he gets so close to her, and then chokes. Ultimately, he misses his deadlinedocumenting the return of the Circuit City “rental camera” with still photos–but at that point, he’s become more obsessed with finding a good way to end his movie, and as he keeps going, he starts to get a lot of sudden media attention. The outcome isn’t exactly a spoiler, because let’s face it, he either meets her or he doesn’t, but after such a long build-up, the ending is surprisingly, a far sweeter icing on the cake than one can possibly imagine.
You do have to wonder how many others might try to emulate the same tricks to meet their favorite celebrities, possibly for less noble intentions, and whether security might tighten after seeing this film. Still, this movie does show that it’s a lot harder to do the even Herzlinger could have guessed.
The only question left as the movie ends is what Herzlinger might do next. Me, I think he should try to give himself 30 days to attain world peace or do something a bit less shallow than meeting a celebrity. Now, that would be an interesting challenge.
The Bottom Line:
Not only is My Date With Drew a terrific documentary about how the Hollywood star system works, but it also may be the only documentary that’s also the perfect date movie.
My Date With Drew opens in select cities on August 5.