Rarely do I ever ponder the idea of Adam Sandler.
There was a time when this statement was miles from the truth. When I was a young, impressionable lad, my babysitter played me his tape (yes, cassette tape) of They’re All Gonna Laugh At You and I was hooked. Coming from the New England area, “Toll Booth Willie” was some of the funniest shit I’d ever heard. And yes, “The Longest Pee” was a one of the better cuts off the album, perhaps the filet mignon of his aural triumph. And I was right there with him when he made the venture to film, Billy Madison was like a comedic Citizen Kane to my gelatinous mind, and of course, Happy Gilmore was the apex of my Sandler experience. Shit, I even loved Bulletproof. Which is what brought me to write this.
Somewhere in my brain, I had convinced myself that perhaps Sandler had become less funny the further he trudged through his career. The Waterboy was a must see film in high school, a film I recall seeing in a sold out theater, a remarkable feat in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as this town prefers it’s films crunchy (see hippie, granola, patchouli). The fact that a stammering moron with a poor imitation of a speech impediment had filled the town’s local cinema was astonishing.
Yet that’s when it ended for me. By that time, I had developed into a person with a certain degree of intellect (just how much is debatable, I did make a cunnilingus suffocation joke in yesterday’s entry) and no longer found his antics amusing. After The Waterboy came Big Daddy, which yielded some laughs and few quotes I still employ on occasion, given a certain degree of intoxication. Though admittedly, most of those are thanks to Leslie Mann, who we now understand is one of the top female actors working in comedy (“You’re just a doorman. Doorman. Doorman!”).
So it gets me to wondering, was the guy getting less funny? Was he ever funny? I can still look back on those early films with a certain fondness, and on the rare occasion I actually watch one of them, I even laugh a few times (more so with Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison is a bit of an embarrassment, let’s be honest).
Then last weekend came. I was feeling a bit under the weather and spent an entire day in bed, watching far too many suspect films with my girlfriend, when Bulletproof happened upon me. To be fair, this was never considered the man’s magnum opus, but I remember lumping that in with his early greats back when I was a fan. So I watched it. And it was terrible. Which led me to think that maybe he was never really funny to begin with. Or, allow me to correct that. Maybe he was fucking hysterical to my eleven, twelve, fifteen-year-old brain. And maybe America is a collective twelve-year-old, supporting the man’s consistent cinematic bowel movements.
But let me be fair, before judging America so harshly. Maybe he’s just turned into an Eddie Murphy. A Mike Myers (I’m waiting for The Love Guru to prove me wrong, the ad looks as funny as a microwaved baby). A Steve Martin (Baby Mama doesn’t count). I mean, Adam Shankman is directing his next film. Yeah, that Adam Shankman. Adam “Cheaper By the Dozen 2, The Pacifier, Bringing Down the House” Shankman. You’ll notice that this man is to thank for two of Steve Martin’s recent abominations, though Shawn Levy is to thank for The Pink Panther remake. But really though, we have Steve Martin to thank for that shit. Funny guy, yes. He gave the world Gern Blanston. He also thought he could take on a role created by Sellers. Tisk.
Yet as unfunny as these once great comedy star’s recent films are, the more America eats that shit up. Granted, the readers of CHUD may think these men’s films are as funny as our diminishing Constitutional Rights, but they are killing at the box office. Norbit banked. The Pink Panther may have kick-started another franchise. And Click played to more people than will ever see No Country for Old Men. So yes, America, as collective nation, is an idiot.
Okay, he’s working with Shankman next. It’s a problem. But it’s not the biggest problem, not by a long shot. Little Nicky was a bigger problem. Click, a conundrum. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, a quandary (what the fuck was Alexander Payne doing on that script, does he owe that much alimony?). Yet with Sandler, it seems that the more likely his film was conceived by a room full of downs syndrome chinchillas, the better it performs at the box office. Yet somehow, these are not the biggest problems when it comes to this man.
The biggest problem, by far, is the Apatow dilemma. As has been largely discussed on CHUD of late, Apatow co-wrote You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, with Robert Smigel, no less. That’s a killer team. And then you add Sandler to the mix and… FUCK! The trailer makes me want to blind myself with my self-amputated dick.
To add insult to injury, the current Godzilla of comedy has decided to cast Sandler in his next film. As in, “Hey, I made The 40 Year Old Virgin, one of the best comedies this decade, and followed it with Knocked Up, a hugely funny sophomore effort, and am considered the go-to guy for the latest in comedic happenings, I think I’ll put the guy from Mr. Deeds in my next flick.” Yeesh! I mean, I understand feeling a connection to a guy that was once your roommate, but he seems to be doing just fine with his buckets of cash from his exceedingly questionable projects. Why tarnish your reputation as one of the great names in comedy by working with cinema’s biggest clown? If Apatow’s downfall comes, it will be at the hands of Sandler. No question.
Which brings me to my final point about the man-child. He’s a Republican. A Jewish Republican. A New York born Republican. A “comedian” Republican. The very idea of this makes my ass hurt.
And yet, I see him on The Daily Show the other night, wearing shorts and t-shirt, looking like he’d just rolled out of bed with Sasquatch and I can’t help but see a guy who is so unfathomably down to earth and exactly the type of movie star I wouldn’t mind being friends with. Except he’s also the guy that was in the films I’ve just described and the Jewish, New Yorker, “comedian” Republican I can’t even fathom existing. So how could this possibly be true? Maybe it is. Maybe, if Apatow can see past the guy’s career craters and questionable political affiliations, perhaps I can too.
But that still doesn’t mean I’m going to piss away ten bucks on You Don’t Mess With the Zohan this weekend. I’ll leave that to the Click fans.