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With "Lost & Found," yet another "SNL" alum shoots for the big time as an unlikely romantic lead.

There's Something About David

What is it about David Spade that makes us like him in spite of his sarcastic, cynical, smug, wise-guy shtick? Perhaps jumbled up in his scrawny, short self we find a flaw or two with which we can empathize. Or perhaps he's just funny in a mean, honest sort of way that's hard not to like. Whatever it is, I admit to being a fan.

However, even though I appreciate his perverse brand of humor, I wasn't so sure about him tackling the role of a romantic leading man. But then again, if fellow "Saturday Night Live" alum Adam Sandler can do it, why not Spade?

In truth, "Lost & Found" is a calculated combo of equal parts Sandler's "The Wedding Singer" and The Farrelly Brothers' "There's Something About Mary." Rather like the six-minute dance remix of Madonna's "Don't Cry For Me Argentina," "Lost & Found" may be a bouncy little number, but you still wonder about the need for its existence.

Penned in part by Spade, "Lost & Found" introduces us to Dylan Ramsey (Spade), co-owner of a semi-successful L.A. eatery. No Wolfgang Puck, Spade's Ramsey is a lonely little fella still searching for true love. Just when he's about to resign himself to male spinsterhood, a lovely French cellist literally runs into him while chasing after her runaway pooch. Played by the lovely Sophie Marceau, Lila Dubois has Ramsey plotting to win her affections. Unfortunately, what he comes up with is a half-baked plan that includes dognapping, hoping that Lila will worship him as a hero when he returns her purloined pooch. But as things are wont to do in contrived romantic comedies, they go awry.

This dog, like the one in "There's Something About Mary," is no panting pushover. It throws a serious kink into Spade's plan when it chows down on a friend's expensive ring and Spade must keep the dog until nature takes its course. In the meantime, Lila's handsome, rich ex-boyfriend Rene (Patrick Bruel) shows up determined to win her back and humiliate Spade at the same time.

"Lost & Found" is all over the comic map, from silly to sweet, gross to demure. Most of the silliness is predictable, pointless and dull. The movie is redeemed, however, whenever Marceau is onscreen. Best known to American audiences for her role as the French Queen in "Braveheart," Marceau brightens even the dullest moments of "Lost & Found." Marceau is physically and temperamentally Spade's opposite, and it is their obvious mismatch that makes the movie work in spite of its contrived formula. The highlight of the movie, however, is Spade's unique delivery of a Neil Diamond classic.

Although the filmmakers were hoping to capture the attention of Adam Sandler fans as well as those who can't get enough of the Farrelly Brothers, "Lost & Found" works best when it's a simple and sweet romance. Here, it's the story, and not Spade, that falls

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