Recently I read an article here on Yuppee.com which slated and criticised Happy Madison productions. While I enjoyed the article, particularly its reference to the South Park episode AWESOM-O and its general style, I must admit I was unsettled by some of its comments.
For instance, how anyone can think Funny People is Adam Sandler’s best work is beyond me – it isn’t even a good film, let alone Sandler at his best. It has been a while since I have watched it, admittedly, but my best recollection of it is that it is dull for the most part and then drags on with a dire subplot about his ex-wife. Though it is interesting to see Sandler tackle a more serious role, as he does in Reign Over me (also highlighted in the aforementioned article), the entertainment ends there. All the audience gets is a mere moment where they think to themselves, ‘oh, Adam Sandler isn’t always a goof’ and then spend the next two hours wishing they were watching Happy Gilmore.
It was only a matter of weeks ago an ITV spin-off channel showed this Adam Sandler classic and within moments it was trending across the UK. To be honest, if it wasn’t for Twitter, I wouldn’t have even known that it was on. What does it say about Sandler’s older works that they still evoke such a response from the public? Needless to say, I turned my TV over to ITV4 straight away.
That being said, the article I am responding to does admit that his earlier works such as Happy Gilmore are good films. However, to claim that he has ‘lost his mojo’ and that everything since then has clung on to crude jokes and unrelatable characters after a cheap laugh is plain wrong. That sort of humour will always be a part of Sandler’s repertoire but there is much more to Happy Madison productions than people give credit for.
Can you honestly say that you didn’t nearly shed a tear when Sandler’s character laid prone in the rain, surrounded by his family in Click? It was an emotional moment which drew a big response from my friend and I, as we half-heartedly hid the fact that we were both crying as we watched it together for the first time. I am sure that others felt the same.
And what of Grown Ups? It may not have had the emotional moments which brought an audience close to tears like Click but it is another Sandler film thrown under the bus by critics. Supposedly nothing more than a vanity exercise between friends, as they acted like children for two hours and made a film about it. This frustrated some but for me, I loved it. It is a film in which the characters aren’t driven by and large by events in the plot, but where the plot is shaped by the characters interactions. These interactions may often be juvenile and yes, sometimes they are unfunny (Rob Schneider clutching on to a scolding stone with his elderly wife is not funny in any sense of the word) but most of the time they are enjoyable.
Apparently these moments and characters are unrelatable to the audience but if so, then that must mean you’ve never had the sort of friends like the ones on screen. I sincerely hope I’m still dicking around with my friends like Sandler and crew in Grown Ups when I reach their age. Joking around about the way we say certain words, doing silly things which are sure to get us in trouble, complaining about wives and girlfriends – this is very relatable for a young, male audience.
Sandler may never win any awards for his films and performances but they all have memorable lines, they’re easy to watch and yes, there is something to relate to in them. Now that he’s older I’m sure he will develop a more serious tone, even if the plot is still somewhat silly, such as Just Go With It with Jennifer Anniston, but as long as he is making movies people will go to watch them and put up with a few fart jokes along the way. It’s not Citizen Kane but it’s fun and the majority of us enjoy it, so Sandler, keep it up.