Picture this – a seemingly normal girl who cannot form any new memories, and hence lives the same day over and over again, thanks to her loving family (who wants to prevent her from getting hurt). It sounds like a recipe for a dating disaster, but it has oddly become the basis for not one, not two, but a grand total of four romantic comedies, including the latest Japanese remake to hit Singapore cinemas – 50 First Kisses.

  • 50 First Dates (English, 2004)
  • Sathyabhama (Telugu, 2007)
  • Ormayundo Ee Mukham (Malayalam, 2014)
  • 50 First Kisses (Japanese, 2018)

You probably thought 50 First Dates was popular, but we’re betting you never thought that it was popular enough to have spawned remakes in different languages. The film saw playboy Henry (Adam Sandler) finally finding the girl of his dreams, Lucy (Drew Barrymore). Unfortunately, she doesn’t remember him the day after – in fact, she can no longer form any new memories after a terrible accident a year ago. It’s up to Henry to somehow make it work with her.

And now, 14 years later (technically, it’s 13 years since 50 First Kisses first came out in Japan in 2017), we have a Japanese remake featuring Takayuki Yamada (as the male lead Daisuke) and Masami Nagasawa (as the female lead Rui) in this star-crossed memory loss romance.

Takayuki Yamada as Daisuke and Masami Nagasawa as Rui in 50 First Kisses. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Takayuki Yamada as Daisuke and Masami Nagasawa as Rui in 50 First Kisses. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

So which film executed this premise better? We sat down and watched both films (got to say that Adam Sandler’s 2004 clothes look terribly obiang in 2018) to find out how they stacked up against each other.

 

Male Lead – 50 First Kisses did it better (Takayuki Yamada)

Takayuki Yamada as Daisuke in 50 First Kisses and Adam Sandler as Henry in 50 First Dates. Credits: Golden Village Cinemas and Fanpop

Takayuki Yamada as Daisuke in 50 First Kisses and Adam Sandler as Henry in 50 First Dates. Credits: Golden Village Cinemas and Fanpop

Let’s be honest – in which universe would Adam Sandler be even remotely attractive, let alone a playboy? He feels like an incompetent, immature loafer who’s goofing off. Compare that to Takayuki Yamada, who delivers some genuine angst and struggle in 50 First Kisses. You actually believe that Yamada has (comparatively) pure intentions, whereas Sandler might be some irresponsible douchebag in the end. Plus, Yamada actually looks, well, handsome.

 

Female Lead – 50 First Dates did it better (Drew Barrymore)

Masami Nagasawa as Rui in 50 First Kisses and Drew Barrymore as Lucy in 50 First Dates. Credits: Golden Village Cinemas and Fanpop

Masami Nagasawa as Rui in 50 First Kisses and Drew Barrymore as Lucy in 50 First Dates. Credits: Golden Village Cinemas and Fanpop

As lovely as Masami Nagasawa looks, she just can’t pull off the character as well as Drew Barrymore does. You can buy that Barrymore is a spunky, strong, independent girl who can handle anything that is thrown at her – but not for Nagasawa. She feels like a damsel-in-distress who is trying too hard to act like she’s tough. In fact, she feels very much like a victim of circumstances in 50 First Kisses, whereas Drew Barrymore feels like she’s a master of her own fate in spite of her accident in 50 First Dates. Sorry Nagasawa, maybe this wasn’t the role for you.

 

The Father – 50 First Kisses did it better (Jiro Sato)

Jiro Sato as Kenta in 50 First Kisses and Blake Clark as Marlin in 50 First Dates. Credits: Golden Village Cinemas and Fanpop

Jiro Sato as Kenta in 50 First Kisses and Blake Clark as Marlin in 50 First Dates. Credits: Golden Village Cinemas and Fanpop

In both films, the female protagonist’s father and brother are important supporting characters, because they help keep up the masquerade that she’s reliving the same day over and over again (to prevent her from experiencing trauma on a daily basis). Blake Clark plays Marlin (Lucy’s father) in the American version, whilst Jiro Sato takes on the role of Kenta (Rui’s father) in the Japanese version.

Kenta is an absolute hoot in 50 First Kisses. It helps that his character is fleshed out a little better and there’s more backstory for him than just “father of poor amnesiac girl”, giving him so many more hilarious moments in the Japanese film. In fact, we’d even say that he’s the real comedy star of the movie, because he’s feels like he just wants to live a normal life, but can’t because of his handicapped daughter and strange son. Marlin looks positively bland next to Kenta.

 

Male Lead’s Occupation – 50 First Kisses did it better (astronomer)

Takayuki Yamada as Daisuke in 50 First Kisses and Adam Sandler as Henry in 50 First Dates. Credits: Golden Village Cinemas and Fanpop

Takayuki Yamada as Daisuke in 50 First Kisses and Adam Sandler as Henry in 50 First Dates. Credits: Golden Village Cinemas and Fanpop

Honestly, Adam Sandler’s character’s veterinarian job felt like a cheap way to get in some animal gags. You don’t actually get the impression that he would know how to feed an injured sea creature, let alone treat one. True, he has a little bit of knowledge and can somehow communicate with them – but it feels staged and scripted. Takayuki Yamada, on the other hand, feels like he could genuinely be a self-exiled genius astronomer (note that it’s astronomer, which means outer space stuff, and not astrologer, which is horoscope stuff). On the flip side, he’s not that believable as a playboy since he’s so serious about everything… but then again, that’s not what the film is about.

 

Story – 50 First Dates did it better

50 First Kisses and 50 First Dates. Credits: Golden Village Cinemas and Fanpop

50 First Kisses and 50 First Dates. Credits: Golden Village Cinemas and Fanpop

When it comes to the actual execution of the premise, 50 First Dates does it a little better than 50 First Kisses. Perhaps it’s because the setting (Hawaii) lends itself better to American characters. Or maybe because the characters are over-the-top to begin with, which is not really a very Asian trait. Regardless of the acting ability of the cast, 50 First Dates actually feels like a feasible love story, whereas 50 First Kisses comes off a little… forced.

 

Overall – 50 First Kisses is the better film

50 First Kisses and 50 First Dates. Credits: Golden Village Cinemas and Fanpop

50 First Kisses and 50 First Dates. Credits: Golden Village Cinemas and Fanpop

50 First Kisses edges out 50 First Dates slightly as a more watchable movie. Since it was only made last year, it also feels less dated and more modern (DVDs instead of video tapes, mobile phones instead of camcorders, and more fashionable clothes). If you had to pick one to watch for your first date, 50 First Kisses would probably earn you a first kiss.

50 First Kisses. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

50 First Kisses. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

You probably already know the ending of 50 First Kisses – but how does it handle an early 2000s story when there’s so much modern technology to deal with now? Is there any clash between Hawaiian and Japanese cultures? What’s the chemistry between Takayuki Yamada (Daisuke) and Masami Nagasawa (Rui) like?

Find out how Daisuke manages to score 50 first kisses with Rui in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy! Even if you’ve already watched 50 First Dates, it’s a brand new version of a love story for a new generation… and also a chance for you to score on that first date.

Especially if you watch it in Gold Class with all those comfortable chairs and that classy, cosy ambience (wink wink).

 

Credits: Golden Village Cinemas, Fanpop, Aceshowbiz

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