2008’s Funny People was one of the decade’s more polarizing movies. Some loved its expert balance of comedy and drama, while others found it to be an overstuffed and uneven mess. Count me firmly in the former camp; even if Judd Apatow’s film runs too long and tries to stuff too much in, it hits nearly every dramatic and comedic beat and is consistently engaging thanks to a talented cast. And the most amazing part? It’s anchored by the memorable performance of a lifetime from – seriously – Adam Sandler. Yes, the same man responsible for some of the worst cinematic atrocities we’d seen on screen up to that point was amazing in a role that seemed to be a heartfelt reflection on Sandler’s up-and-down career. It was enough to erase any recent ill will from Sandler and pointed towards a possible mid-career shift into more thoughtful and engaging films.
Well, so much for that.
Since that film and its general critical acclaim, Sandler has gone on to make the following litany of instant classics:
- Grown Ups (actor, producer, writer) – 10% on Rotten Tomatoes
- Just Go With It (actor, producer) – 19%
- Zookeeper (voice actor, producer) – 14%
- Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star (cameo, writer, producer) – 0%
- Jack and Jill (actor, producer, writer) – 3%
Remember those fake movies that Sandler’s character, George Simmons, was a part of in Funny People? Because they seem pale in comparison to the garbage that Sandler has unleashed on movie theatres since then. COMBINED – these five films don’t even add up to an aggregate total of 50%. To quote Christopher Orr of The Atlantic, Sandler “is either the least self-aware actor in Hollywood, or the most.”
So how could it POSSIBLY get any worse? Here’s how.
(A note: That is the green-band trailer. The red-band one is even worse. The red-band trailer features the following lines: “It tastes like f***ing d*** infused with balls” and “you puked on my dress and then f***ed it?” Welcome to the end of cinema, ladies and gentlemen.)
What is there to recommend here? Two seemingly detestable lead characters? Jokes that a 5-year old could have penned? A wig seemingly stolen from the set of Rock of Ages? A Sandler accent from…um…uh…Massachusetts, maybe? (I honestly have no idea what that accent’s supposed to be, nor do I think Sandler does.) An appearance from Bucky Larson “star” Nick Swardson? The hilarious comedy of Andy Samberg getting hit in the face with a baseball?
There is – quite literally – NOTHING good about this trailer, save for its eventual ending. I couldn’t think of a worse way to spend two and a half minutes of my life, including waterboarding, smelling onions, repeatedly slamming a mallet into my eyeballs or swallowing a cheese grater. I want to believe that this isn’t real and that it’s all just a sick dream I’ve been imagining. When Rex Ryan seems to be far and away the best actor in this thing, there’s a serious problem here.
It’s a real shame that Sandler has resorted back to this lowest common denominator-type stuff. He seemed to be playing himself and doing it well in Funny People, well aware of the sad path his career had taken. And now we know that he just plain doesn’t care. Sandler’s films will make money for all eternity, and he never has to think or open his creative juices again. It’s the latest sad step in what’s become a tragicomedy of a career.