Screenwriter: Christopher Theo
Starring: Chris Pine, Anjali Jay, Eddie Kay Thomas, Jane Seymour
Running time: 95 mins
Like last week's dismal Whiteout, Blind Dating has spent the last couple of years languishing in a vault awaiting a release on these magnificent shores. A lightbulb must have materialised above a studio mogul's head when the movie's then-unknown star Chris Pine recently shot to prominence as James Kirk in J.J .Abrams's Star Trek reboot. So the stage was nicely set for Blind Dating to show us that there was life before Tiberius. Sadly, while Pine is superb in the lead role, almost everything else fails to convince in this vastly uneven, unfunny and only sporadically dramatic enterprise.
You see, Blind Dating is a movie about a blind man called Danny (Pine) who, erm, goes dating. He finds the possibility of true love with a receptionist Leeza (Jay), but her strict Indian family already has something arranged for her on the marital front. But will she realise he's the one before he destroys himself with some risky eye-related operations that might allow him to look at her? The structure and premise of the story aren't too bad at all, but the execution is lousy.
As if the gimmicky punnery of that title isn't enough, the movie ends with KT Tunstall's 'Suddenly I See' blaring over the end credits after the predictable happy ending. Presumably there's a deleted scene where Danny traipses around in a park after a sudden shower to the sounds of a certain Jimmy Cliff classic.
Blind Dating’s woefully shifting tone frequently severs the audience's involvement with the storyline. Pine works hard to demonstrate the rounded 'warts and all' nature of his character, who is as stubborn as he is brave. He comes across as a reasonably credible and sympathetic persona, so when he is plunged into a dark world of pioneering operations that might be able to restore his sight - but could prove fatal - you'd expect to be able to take the events seriously. Wrong.
For this serious scenario is littered with a plethora of lazily-conceived supposedly 'comic' caricatures that drag us kicking and screaming into a world of surreal tedium instead. None is worse than Danny's shrink Dr Evans, who has a fetish for discreetly stripping off naked in front of her blind patient for her own sexual arousal. Incredulous indeed. Similarly, the exaggerated slapstick and desperation for OTT humour similarly hampers Danny's various dating mishaps, where the tone shifts into a realm that makes American Pie look like the epitome of witty sophistication.
James Keach's direction also lacks finesse, clearly signposting future events as the movie rolls on. For example, the first time Leeza sets eyes on Danny, you can pretty much tell exactly how everything will play out. Taken in isolation though, shorn of the calamitous crud around it, the scenes featuring Danny's post-op disorientation and deterioration do have some effective shock value. But sadly with Blind Dating, we have to see the whole picture... and it doesn't look pretty.
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