These days, my son makes me watch pieces of these Adam Sandler films now that they are on the regular cable rotation. It appears to be some kind of social experiment. I watch the movies, which purport to be comedies, and I don’t laugh. My son watches me. If I do laugh, which is rare, he mocks me for having laughed. At the end of a particular segment, we shake our heads, and then, when we have time to reflect, we ponder larger questions:
Does Adam Sandler make the least funny movies ever made? It’s hard to come to any other conclusion but yes. Add Bedtime Stories, Billy Madison, Click, Just Go With It, The Waterboy, Little Nicky, 50 First Dates, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Mr. Deeds, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Bulletproof, Anger Management, and Big Daddy. There’s barely a laugh in any of them, though I am partial to some parts of Happy Gilmore, and The Wedding Singer was cute. But that was 1996 and 1998, respectively.
Does Sandler have any films that reflect well on his talent? Two. He was apt in Paul Thomas Anderson’s underrated Punch Drunk Love, and Judd Apatow’s similarly underrated Funny People was greatly reliant on his ability to play himself (a mega star comedian who makes crappy movies).
Is there a major star less deserved of his success? No.
Is there a major star more loyal to his pals? No. If there is one thing consistent in Sandler’s films, other than being unfunny, it is the presence of his regulars: Allen Covert (15 Sandler films), Jonathan Loughren (13 Sandler films), Peter Dante (11 Sandler films), Blake Clark (9), Rob Schneider (10), Nick Swarsdon (8), Steve Buscemi (7) and Dennis Dugan (7 as actor, 8 as director). So, he’s probably a pretty nice guy.
Why is Sandler fascinated with sex and old women? I won’t catalogue all the examples, but randy oldsters getting it on with folks 50 years their junior is heavy in his films, and it is unpleasant and intriguing. He may have noticed it, because in That’s My Boy, he went the other way.
Which film goes the longest without eliciting a laugh? Grown Ups, which is a little surprising, because Sandler is supported by a bevy of other comedians. But there really isn’t a hearty laugh in this picture, and hooray! Part Two is in post-production.