tek's rating:

Mystery Date (PG-13)
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streaming sites: none that I know of

This came out in 1991, but I'm not sure exactly when I first saw it. Surely sometime in the 90s; I know we had a VHS tape of it. Years and years later, I was gonna watch it again, but discovered that the wrong tape was in its case, so I have no idea what became of the tape. Sometime after that, I saw the DVD on sale for cheap, so I got that, and I'm watching it in 2015, to write this review. Oh, I also wanted to say that one of the stars is Teri Polo, whom I've seen in a few things, though I mostly remember her from the final season of Northern Exposure, which was 1994-95. I have this vague feeling that the first time I saw this movie, I was like “Hey, it's the girl from the final season of Northern Exposure, cool.” Which would mean I obviously didn't see the movie until sometime after that, but... I can't be sure of the order. I could just as easily have seen the final season of Northern Exposure and said, “Hey, it's the girl from Mystery Date, cool.” Not that it matters, I just like boring y'all with examples of how my memory sucks. (The movie also stars Ethan Hawke, and I have absolutely no recollection as to whether I'd seen him in other things before this or not.)

Anyway... Hawke plays a guy named Tom McHugh. I think the movie takes place during the summer, between his last year of high school and first year of college. His older brother, Craig, has apparently been away at law school, but he unexpectedly comes home for a visit, right after their parents go out of town for a few days. Polo plays this girl named Geena Matthews, on whom Tom has a major crush. He's too nervous to have ever spoken to her, but he's been spying on her for months, which in real life would make him a totally creepy stalker, but I guess in movies like this it's supposed to be cute, or something. Anyway, he's been talking to Craig about her, on the phone, and now that Craig is home, he sets Tom up on a date with her. Which is easy for him, because he's an enormous asshole (as we'll soon learn).

The whole movie is basically a prolonged case of mistaken identity, as Craig was setting his little brother up as an alibi while he was out committing a heist, but even he couldn't have begun to imagine how much trouble Tom and Geena would get into, on account of everyone thinking Tom was Craig. Which, btw, is ridiculous, because in spite of Craig's efforts to make Tom look like him, I absolutely cannot imagine anyone who knew Craig well enough to hate him as much as they do, mistaking Tom for him. They really don't look that much alike, IMO. Anyway, it all starts out reasonably harmlessly, with several women being pissed at Tom-who-they-inexplicably-think-is-Craig. But Tom and Geena's date gets progressively worse, as there is a crooked cop after Tom/Craig, and a bunch of other cops, and the Chinese Mafia (led by a guy named James Lew), and... a flower delivery guy named Dwight, whom Craig had stiffed on a tip.

Well... everything turns out alright, in the end. And along the way, there are a few mildly amusing bits. The movie has an 80s sort of quirkiness, I guess. (A lot of shows and movies from the early 90s were still putting out a major 80s vibe.) On the whole, I thought it was kind of lame, but the actors all did an entertaining job with the material. So... it was tolerable. And maybe I'll even be in the mood to watch it again, in another thirty years or so. (Or not.)


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