Before we begin this look at the works of Adam Sandler, let me state that I have not seen all of his movies. To go further, I don’t know if it is possible to truly see everything that Adam Sandler has to offer us. Adam Sandler is the everyman of our day. Do not make the mistake that so many have done in the past and just write him and his work off. I have made this mistake on more than one occasion.
In the past, I looked at his body of work and saw nothing but Jack and Jill, Little Nicky, Bedtime Stories, and the two Grown Ups movies. These are not good movies to be certain. Recently, while trying to watch the first Grown Ups, I grew incensed and angry. There is, however, a hidden genius in Adam Sandler.
Most of his movies are not for me. I am not sure who they are aimed at, but someone somewhere thought Don’t Mess with the Zoham was a good idea. At some point, a movie executive bought off on a movie where Adam Sandler played Satan’s son who has a speech impediment.
But some of his movies are not only good, they’re great.
Punch-Drunk Love came out in 2002 and it was Sandler’s first non-stupid comedy film. It had its funny moments. We discovered that when Sandler is not playing an idiot, he is very talented.
In 2006’s Click, Sandler plays a regular guy. He is a husband and a father working for an insufferable boss who gets a remote control that allows him to treat his life like a Tivo. The movie has its expected goofy moments but these are over-shadowed by a really good message. This was a very enjoyable movie.
Reign Over Me
Click was followed up the next year by Reign Over Me. This is the most atypical Adam Sandler movie that there is. He plays a man that lost his family on September 11 and only begins to get over his grief by reconnecting with an old friend, played by Don Cheadle.
Of all of his movies, Funny People surprised me the most. Knowing it was a Judd Apatow movie starring Sandler and Seth Rogen, I was expecting something like any of these three had delivered before. This is not like any movie that they have done, as it successfully walked a nice line between comedy and drama and never became heavy handed, over-dramatic, or goofy.
The Wedding Singer
As a child of the 1980s, The Wedding Singer holds a special place in my heart. True, some of the jokes fall flat and very few people would call the movie great. As far as romantic comedies go, it was good fun. An added bonus was it had the great Jon Lovitz as a a competing wedding singer. I would pay to see a movie concerning his character.
These five movies do not give Adam Sandler a pass and he does have other movies that are good and some of his work on Saturday Night Live was wonderful. Not all of the works of Adam Sandler are bad…but they are also not good. He is still responsible for barely watchable movies.
When we take into account his production company, Happy Madison, we begin to see a clearer picture. The majority of its movies are in the David Spade/Kevin James ‘genre.’ (While these movies are not really a genre unto themselves, I will classify them as one.) All the performers are talented and have done things in the past that are enjoyable. Sadly Paul Blart: Mall Cop is not one of these. (I like Kevin James. I enjoy his stand-up and I thought King of Queens had some great moments. I also quite enjoyed Here Comes the Boom.)
When all is said and done, Adam Sandler should not be faulted for the movies that he does. His movies make money because we go to see them. Adam Sandler is just doing his job. He does it well.
We need Adam Sandler to make movies. Deep down in places that we don’t talk about at parties we need him doing what he does. We might pish-posh the trailers and make fun of them, but we as a people need mindless entertainment.
On behalf of all self-righteous snobs, I would like to apologize to him at this point.
(But Little Nicky was still really bad.)