BLIND DATE Blu-ray review – Bruce Willis and Kim Basinger star in a 1980s comedy classic

BLIND DATE Blu-ray review – Bruce Willis and Kim Basinger star in a 1980s comedy classic


BLIND DATE is one of those movies I likely saw a hundred times on cable as a kid. Being a fan of both MOONLIGHTING and NIGHT COURT, the idea of a comedy with both Bruce Willis and John Larroquette was very appealing to me. Kim Basinger, who actually gets top billing in the film, was on my radar a lot less, though thanks to movies like NINE 1/2 WEEKS and NADINE that would quickly change. Directed by Blake Edwards (his first of two movies with Willis, the second being SUNSET), the story opens with Walter Davis (Willis) waking up late for work. His radio pops on with 1980s mainstay Rick Dees (the James Brown Auto Alarm gag has always been a memorable favorite), and as Walter hurriedly gets ready we’re thrust into the quick pace the film will maintain for the next 95 minutes.

In an effort to fit in properly for a business dinner with a traditional Japanese businessman named Mr. Yakamoto, Walter realizes he desperately needs a date for the evening. His somewhat shady car salesman brother Ted (the late great Phil Hartman) recommends his wife’s friend Nadia Gates (Basinger), who quickly becomes the only viable option for the night. The one warning given for the potential companion is to not let her drink, or else she’ll sort of lose control. Things start off smoothly enough, but while starting the evening at an art show Nadia’s psycho ex-boyfriend David Bedford (Larroquette) shows up, and doesn’t take kindly to her being out with another man. They escape to a recording studio where they listen to one of Walter’s musician friends. While killing time there, Walter decides to open a bottle of champagne… big mistake.

Eventually Walter and Nadia wind up at the restaurant for the Yakamoto dinner. More champagne flows, and Nadia quickly gets out of control, ruining things with Walter’s boss and getting him fired. Upon leaving the restaurant, they meet up once again with David, who now full on wants to kill Walter. What follows is a wild evening of Walter trying desperately to keep Nadia under control, and avoid David’s insanity.

This early Bruce Willis performance draws off the strengths he exhibited in MOONLIGHTING, that sort of manic guy caught up in unexpected hairy scenarios. As the story progresses, he gets more loopy, and the last 30 minutes is where he really shines. Basinger walks a fine line between adorable and annoying as Nadia. If you’ve seen Ralph Bakshi’s COOL WORLD, this character could almost be looked at as a sort of pre-cursor to her performance as Holli Would. Larroquette gets a thankless but fun role as the nutty ex-boyfriend. Most of his scenes involve lunging at Willis, but toward the end we see a bit more characterization, and he makes the most of what’s given in the script. Also look for a short but fun performance by William Daniels, and a few moments of greatness from Phil Hartman.

While the Blu-ray sadly has not a single extra to speak of (not even a theatrical trailer), the movie looks and sounds better than ever. The transfer is crisp and clean, sharper than I would imagine a film likes this to have held up. Even the colors look bright and rich, which is one thing most 80s movies suffer from over time… not here, this is great quality. Even the sound mix, which wasn’t anything spectacular with the original release, at times sounds rather impressive and almost like a 5.1 mix, which works particularly well in scenes involving music. One thing that’s fun about BLIND DATE today is how representative of the 1980s it is. The clothing is appropriate to the period without looking silly, and the music is fun and fitting. One scene features Billy Vera and The Beaters in a nightclub, who never miss a note even when a big fight breaks out before them. By today’s comedy standard, BLIND DATE may seem somewhat tame and simplistic, but it remains a fun little romp indicative of the era, and worth a look if you’ve never seen it… it should also be noted, this is the first starring film role for Bruce Willis, who as we all know went on to become a box office superstar.

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About the Author

Born and raised in Dallas, Mark has been a movie critic since 1994, with reviews featured in print, radio and National TV. In 2001 he started the Entertainment section of the Herorealm website, where he contributed film reviews and celebrity interviews until 2004. After three years of service there, he started, which has become one of the Dallas film community's leading information websites. Bigfanboy hosts several movie screenings in the Texas area, and works closely with film and TV studios and promotional partners to host exciting events and contests. The site also features a variety of rare celebrity and filmmaker interviews, and regularly covers the film festival circuit as well. In addition to Hollywood reporting, Mark has worked for many years as an advertising and sci-fi/comic book artist. Clients have included Lucasfilm Ltd., Topps Trading Cards, The Dallas Mavericks and The Dallas Stars. From 2002 until 2015 he managed the Dallas Comic Con, Sci-Fi Expo and Fan Days events in the DFW area. He currently catalogs rare comic books and movie memorabilia for Heritage Auctions, and runs the Dallas Comic Show conventions, but remains an avid moviegoer and cinema buff.