With Father’s Day fast approaching, what better time to celebrate the firm, guiding hand of the man who once taught you how tie a Windsor knot, light a campfire and masturbate to pictures of your grandmother, leaving the used Kleenex for her to clean up? Or at least that’s what Sony Pictures apparently believes, as it unleashes the latest Adam Sandler offering on American filmgoers this weekend. […]
Some movies take place in a world that we’ll call “comedy reality.” This is clearly not the real world, nor is it quite the anarchic spoof world of, say, Airplane! or Scary Movie, but it’s an unabashedly silly alternate reality — one in which a man can kick someone with both feet simultaneously, a fire can be doused with a hose full of hummus, and a cell phone can get left in a woman’s womb as she gives birth.
We come to you today from a different world, one of competitive film criticism, where two vaguely similar movies can wrestle each other for Smackdown supremacy! In today’s matchup, our opponents both feature beloved comedy stars playing arrogant and/or ruthless Middle Easterners who come to New York and are humbled and redeemed by hard work and a star-crossed romance. As everyone knows, you don’t mess with Adam Sandler’s You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, but Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator is gonna give it a shot anyway… […]
Artistic women with memory loss and the men who love them — that’s the premise of both The Vow, out this weekend with Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum in the lead roles, and 50 First Dates (2004), starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler. These films play against the standard boy-girl movie cliché, in that it’s the guys who know they’ve found their true romantic matches, and the women who, after seemingly falling in love, treat them like they’ve never seen them before. Of course, there’s a reason for that, and it has to do, in both cases, with brain trauma. Love may conquer all, but only if you can remember you’re in love. […]
We all know that guy, maybe in high school or college, who was a complete idiot most of the time. This is the guy who ran naked through the football field at Homecoming or would eat anything at lunch for a quarter. You know the type. Years later, you may have seen him with his family and thought to yourself, “How the heck does he have kids?”
That’s the way I felt about Adam Sandler. After seeing his wacked-out characters in everything from Billy Madison to Happy Gilmore to The Waterboy, I wondered how anyone could cast him as a caring, down-to-earth father figure. After all, he’d spent most of his adult life playing a man-child.
Then, Sandler was cast as a father in two separate movies, Big Daddy (in 1999) and Click (2006). The first was an edgier Sandler, forced to play the role of a reluctant surrogate father. In the second, the broad comedy of Sandler is more apparent as he plays a man trying to make time for his family and his career.
The question is, which film best captures Sandler’s charm to make us look past his goofy tendencies and appreciate his dad appeal? […]
Both make you laugh, and one lets you feel better about it. “Funny People” connects aspects of Judd Apatow’s life with his one time roommate, Sandler. For his part, Sandler gives another of his hybrid performances, not exactly funny or convincingly serious. Rogan and Hill play roles just like the ones performed in their recent movies. They offer no surprises. Leslie Mann is affecting as the old flame who is uncertain — for a time — about what she wants. The film showcases nice cameos of working comics, real Funny People: Paul Reiser, Charlie Fleischer, Sarah Silverman, Norm MacDonald, George Wallace (he even appeared in Punchline). There are some great moments with James Taylor, and inside the office of George’s Swedish doctor. At 146 minutes, I won’t be the first person to suggest “Funny People” may be a half-hour too long. There’s also the humor: After awhile I wasn’t laughing so much at the sex jokes. As for Sandler’s character, there’s no personal growth. He remains the same schmuck throughout.