Blake Edwards once again turned to his bread-and-butter genre, and kept things nice and simple. However, for whatever reason, this downplayed treat was and is often panned by critics left and right. I submit to you that this is because most of us just don't get it.
I'll use the plot portent to tell you what this movie isn't, first of all. Despite appearances, it's not about up-and-coming, wannabe yuppie Walter Davis (Bruce Willis), not really about his blind date of the title with the beautiful and potentially deadly Nadia Gates (Kim Basinger), not about psychotic defense lawyer and jealous ex David Bedford's (John Laroquette) attempts to break the two up and steal back his first love, and not about the punches and rolls with which these people, along with their families and acquaintances, must deal.
It's just my theory, but I think most of us didn't get this movie because it was a humorous commentary on the time during which it was made. This movie is all about the '80s; the yuppie culture, the self-absorption, the repeated attempts of folks to find solace in getting and having things, and our near-tragic couple's struggle to be who they are, even if it doesn't fit with '80s yuppie culture, and embrace what's important. Consider it--during her drunken binge, Nadia assaults everything that could make Walter a yuppie as if it were a well-organized plan. Walter, in turn, tries his hand at the same thing, mostly upon David and car salesman brother Ted (late, great Phil Hartman). Sure the details give a chuckle or two, but there's an almost cerebral humor going on under the surface of the film, right at the core, which pokes fun at a cornerstone of life in the '80s.
This led to the movie's downfall in favor, since the very people at which the movie so heavily pokes fun were probably among the first ones to see it premiere in the '80s. Even if they got it, they probably didn't appreciate the joke. Essemtially, Edwards had spoofed the '80s DURING the '80s. A gutsy move, and witting or unwitting, this gave it a kind of staying power. It really is about more than you think.
So, if you're one of the lonely soldiers who likes the movie, try to view it in this context and see what you think of it. If you hated it, please try to observe this point of view, and again, see what you think. Blind Date is one of the most different comedies to emerge from this decade. No matter where you sit on the quality issue, perhaps it deserves a second look.