Adam Sandler Does Not Care What You Think
Jack and Jill, the latest Adam Sandler movie/laughter-devouring black hole, looks transcendentally bad. In it, Sandler does his best Norbit/Nutty Professor Eddie Murphy impression and plays both a brother and sister. (As with most Sandler or Murphy-helmed atrocities, Jack and Jill performed decently at the box office, grossing about $26 million in its first weekend.) Al Pacino is somehow in it, playing a version of himself that’s smitten with Sandler’s shrill and obnoxious Jill. This has gone too far, Sandler. You can destroy your own reputation till kingdom come, but sucking an Oscar-winner into your crap vortex is a bridge too far. The man was in The Godfather. If he needs a paycheck this badly, America can pass the plate around.
But Jack and Jill is just the most recent cinematic abortion in the Sandler oeuvre. Note: in order to judge the critical consensus of a movie, I use Metacritic instead of the far more commonly consulted Rotten Tomatoes. Metacritic only selects 40 or so top critics’ opinions and aggregates them, while Rotten Tomatoes basically factors in everyone’s opinion who can type and has access to the Internet. For this reason, Rotten Tomatoes is a better tool to judge how a film will produce at the box office, while Metacritic is a more accurate representation of what film critics are saying. (Both Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes judge movies on a scale of 1 to 100.)
To read the filmography of Happy Madison Productions, the Sandler-owned and operated film studio, is to witness a total encapsulation of Hollywood cynicism. Here is the Metacritic analysis of some of the most recent Happy Madison stinkers contrasted with their box office revenue.
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Metacritic Score: 37 Box Office: $287,572,574
Grown Ups. Metacritic Score: 30 Box Office: $271,419,251
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star. Metacritic Score: 9 (Holy Fucking Shit.) Box Office: $2.5 million after two weeks. It was then pulled from motherfucking theaters.)
Jack and Jill. Metacritic Score: 24 Box Office: TBD, though looking good.
And that’s just a small taste of the crap that Sandler has churned out recently; Happy Madison Productions reliably turns out three to four movies a year. I mean… Just look at that. But can you really blame him for mass-producing these crimes against art? People are seeing them, and seeing them in fucking droves. You can’t really argue with those box office bucks. He’s doing something ”right.” We’ll call it The Sandler Formula.
The Sandler Formula is as reliable as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. You know the beats by heart.
1. Nut shots. The more times Sandler or one of his buddies/frequent film companions like Rob Schneider or Nick Swardson can get hit in the balls, the better. The afore-linked Just Go With It trailer featured not one but two nut shots in a little under three minutes.
2. Rob Schneider doing something offensive. In Happy Madison’s most blatantly terrible formula component, Rob Schneider is almost always on hand playing a Filipino woman, a gay man, or something else bound to alienate people that went to college. See: Schneider as a foreigner of indeterminate origin in Big Daddy learning to read. Yikes.
3. The Sentimental Ending. No matter how much filth, raunch and juvenilia precedes the ending to a Sandler film, there is always a sappy and sentimental ending. Sandler, who always plays an angry, misanthropic man-child, learns his lesson. (i.e., spending time with family, the importance of love, other ham-handed film lessons, etc.)
What’s ultimately most frustrating about Sandler movies is that he could not care less what you and I and the rest of the non-mouth breathers think. Why should he? I illustrated above how much money he makes on these things. So what if people with brains despair? But I can’t help myself; the whole enterprise is just so fucking cynical. He shits out these movies so frequently, with the express purpose of hitting the same beats he always hits, courting the same audience he always courts, with no regard for the audiences’ intelligence.
I understand that movie-making is a business, and business’ sole purpose is to make money. Businesses also make products with a certain standard that people come to expect. These parameters make Happy Madison Productions an excellent business. But, God, does the business of movie-making have to be this depressing and insulting? Who’s down to start the Occupy Happy Madison movement?