There’s a South Park episode where Cartman, dressed as a robot called AWESOM-O, is recruited by Hollywood executives to pitch ideas for movies. He pitches over 800 in one afternoon, and most of them involve Adam Sandler. After seeing Sandler’s latest movies, Jack and Jill and the abysmal That’s My Boy, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he’d starting turning to Cartman for inspiration, too.
The sad part is, it wasn’t always this way; his earlier works like Happy Gimore and The Wedding Singer are great comedies, starting to show their age but still capable of making you laugh pretty damn heartily. And that’s because, while they were comedies, they had a surprising amount of heart to them. Everybody loves Happy’s elderly grandmother, and the love story behind The Wedding Singer is a pretty decent one – that’s why we forgave the humour when it got a little crude.
Of course, this is the point when Sandler grabbed entirely the wrong end of entirely the wrong stick, and thought that people came primarily for the jokes. And so, that’s what we got – movies like Click and Jack and Jill, in which the plot is nothing more than a vehicle for telling the kind of jokes usually reserved for a special type of drunk moron.
What makes it even more maddening is the fact that, every so often, Sandler does something that gives us a tiny glimmer of hope. Anyone who’s seen Reign Over Me will attest to the fact that, when he wants to, Sandler can give a solid dramatic performance. It may not have lit the world on fire but it proved he could do more than act like a tit.
Same with Funny People, which I still place as Sandler’s best film to date. He basically plays a parody of himself – a comedian who became incredibly famous, and then sold out to make a series of increasingly stupid and bad films. And though it could have stopped there, Sandler’s character George – who finds out he has leukemia – is a cut above the usual one-dimensional protagonist. He changes, learns from experiences and because of that, he’s actually relatable as a person.
Unfortunately, his next film was called Grown Ups, and featured Sandler and his friends acting like young children for an hour and a half. Back to square one, then.
Someone once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. And it baffles me that Sandler continues to make these movies after the continually get panned by critics.
If it’s broke, Adam, then for the love of God fix it.