If nothing else, the DVD of Blind Dating really emulates the experience of going on a blind date: you go in with a mixture of hope and fear, you start off pleasantly surprised and then quickly fall into despair when it’s not as bad as you expected…it’s worse. Of course, you’d have to be legally blind to pick this film off the shelf considering its blink-and-you missed-it theatrical run and that the resumes of the two headlining stars consist of smashes like Just my Luck, American Wedding and Freddy Got Fingered.
Chris Pine gives a surprisingly convincing performance as Danny, a blind twenty-two year old who has learned to accept his condition but not his virginity (think At First Sight meets American Pie). As he prepares for an experimental treatment that at best can give him black and white vision just crisp enough to identify a face, he agrees to allow his greasy older brother Larry (Eddie Kay Thomas) to set him up on a series of ‘blind dates”…no pun intended… and yes there is a cheap crack about that. As Danny suffers through endless dates from overacting hell, he finally makes a connection with Leeza (Anjali Jay), the Indian receptionist at his eye doctor’s office. Together they prove that love may indeed be blind but sometimes it ain’t enough, as Leeza is already arranged to be married to another Indian-American (Sendhil Ramamurthy, from TV's Heroes). To soften the blow, Leeza assures Danny that she too is a virgin, as if this news really makes getting dumped any more pleasant. As Danny’s surgery puts his life at risk, Leeza has to weigh her responsibilities to her family against the yearnings of her heart. Do they end up together…you’ll just have to wait and see (yuk yuk yuk).
The filmmakers’ major problem, other than their obvious B-Movie aspirations, is that they never decided exactly what sort of film they wanted to make. What results is a mish-mash of romance, raunch and ridiculousness that falls apart from the get-go when Danny’s therapist (Jane Seymour) inexplicably strips as Danny complains of being unattractive to women. On top of cheesy lines like “you’re a guinea not a guinea pig,” and over-the-top characters (see dating montage), the writers never thought to develop the one compelling romance at the heart of the storyline.
What’s most disappointing about Blind Dating though, is that Chris Pine actually gives a believable performance. Never dropping out of character or slipping into melodrama, Pine creates a persona that an audience could get behind, if only he wasn’t surrounded by newcomers like Anjali Jay who sucks the life out of every scene she’s in. Even the realistic brotherly chemistry between Pine and Thomas can’t save the flick, which isn’t too surprising considering most of their scenes together also include prostitutes or horrible one-liners.
Unless you’re looking for some quality unintentional comedy, Blind Dating isn’t worth seeing. The filmmakers try to pull on your heartstrings with Danny’s struggles to see but end up triggering your gag reflex instead, which is never good on a first date.
The back cover on the Blind Dating DVD boasts “There’s More to Love Than Meets The Eye,” but unfortunately with the disc what you see if pretty much what you get. The quality is fine, the film looks crisp and clean in the widescreen 1.78:1 format and the Dolby 5.1 surround sound balances the music and voice tracks well. The DVD is subtitled in English, French and Spanish but the main attraction is the descriptive soundtrack for the visually impaired, a considerate move with regard to the film’s subject matter, though no amount of description can really make the film any more enjoyable.
The features section of the disc kicks off with a clip-heavy making-of featurette, which tries to add depth to a movie about a blind virgin trying to see or get laid, whichever comes first. It gets seriously comical when the director talks about the complex choices the actors made (to swear or not to swear?) and how much he respected Eddie Kaye Thomas’ talent (because it must be hard to convincingly play a guy who runs a brothel in the backseat of his limousine).
The DVD also includes a series of 16 deleted scenes, which are basically a series of useless moments and botched set-ups that only seem to exist so that the director could have something to cut. A few scenes worth noting are a shower scene that displays Chris Pine’s hot body and the film’s recurring homophobia and an added sex scene which solves the whole virgin problem and serves as an alternate ending. There is also a scene where Leeza laments to her father that her husband-to-be views their relationship as a “merger.” As the scene progresses and her father insists that love is only for the movies, we get a better idea of why she might blow Danny off, some useful exposition that might have proceeded the horrendous “I’m a virgin too!” break-up. Unfortunately cutting that scene wasn’t the last mistake the director made.
To polish off the DVD, there’s the theatrical trailer for the film, and one for Feast of Love, The Comebacks and Blue State. Why anyone would watch these when they’ve already skipped over the trailers of four far superior movies (Juno included) just to get to the DVD menu is beyond me, but they are there for your viewing pleasure. Which is just about all the pleasure you’ll be getting from this DVD.