The trailer for Adam Sandler’s latest movie, That’s My Boy, was just released recently, showcasing R-rated raunchy humor we don’t normally see in his works, due to them being targeted towards a much larger PG-13 demographic. The movie was rewritten by Ken Marino and David Wain, known for their collaborative works on cult classic Wet Hot American Summer, Role Models, Wanderlust, and much more. The film is directed by Sean Anders and John Morris, the duo who wrote Sex Drive, Hot Tub Time Machine, and She’s Out of My League. Now you may not be a fan of all those movies, if any, but it had to make you think: this movie MIGHT be pretty god. So, why does the trailer look so godawful and unfunny? Why is Adam Sandler channeling his poor performances in his past few films instead of making this movie his comeback? Does Sandler have any standards anymore? I can excuse him for many of his critically panned films, but there’s one point in his career where things really got out of hand.
Funny People was a dramedy that satirized Adam Sandler’s comedic career and included one of his best performances ever, but his fans did not respond at the box office. On a $75 million budget, the movie only domestically grossed $51 million, and right under the budget worldwide. Fan response was very mixed, complaining about its long running time and its “overwhelming” addition of drama. That was when Sandler realized what his target audience wanted. The very next year, Sandler released Grown Ups, a movie that was marketed as a reunion with the SNL legends and Kevin James, in an obvious role intended for the late Chris Farley. The film became one of Adam Sandler’s worst reviewed movies (maybe even THE worst…up until Jack and Jill)…and also ended up to be his most profitable, grossing over $270 million worldwide. The declining quality and financial success continued with Just Go With it, as mixed box office results ended up with Zookeeper and Jack and Jill, and Bucky Larson was completely shut out by the public. Even if his last few movies didn’t blow up as much as Grown Ups did, one thing was clear: it didn’t matter what he put out, Sandler stopped caring.
There’s no way Sandler thought any of his recent material was any good, but all he knew was that as long as it’s got his name on it, underage audiences can see it, and it’s chock full of cheap laughs, it’s an instant green light from him. So you would think that an R-rated project from more experienced comedians that have never worked under Happy Madison would be taken more seriously, but nope. Sandler has recognized the recent trend in R-rated comedies, so even if he does have a good script in his hands, he just walks on set and does whatever he wants, and his fans will still come in droves. Doing something like Funny People again now seems too risky for Sandler, so he continues to play it safe and keep churning out crap. So now not only has Sandler stopped caring, but has become a total sellout. Not that he’ll lose respect from his fans. Their standards for his movies have been lowered by so much, they could be pleased with anything he comes out with.
His upcoming projects aren’t showing much promise, either. He’s producing another Kevin James comedy called, Here Comes the Boom, where James plays a high school teacher that becomes a MMA fighter. Hooray, more fat jokes. Happy Madison is also now in charge of the Candy Land movie adaptation. Originally conceived with a Lord of the Rings tone, the Sandler production company will be working with director and Disney veteran Kevin Lima to turn it into a more comedic film. I’m sure the director has a unique grasp on the movie, but by basing on how That’s My Boy looks like so far, everything Sandler touches turns into poop. Though, of course, the worst out of these future productions is Grown Ups 2, already one of the most unnecessary sequels ever made. After the success of the original, Sandler hopes to continue scamming more people into buying into this “SNL reunion” and “best cast ever” gimmick. Now, Sandler is also the starring voice in this year’s Sony Pictures Animation film, Hotel Transylvania, directed by Cartoon Network legend, Genndy Tartakovsky, but Sandler has no creative control over this movie, and is only used to market the film.
So, has Adam Sandler completely lost any of the talent he used to have in the 90s and late 2000s? No. He just refuses to use it. It’s weird, though. He makes it seem like Funny People was such a heartbreaking disappointment for him, yet people (that didn’t expect his usual goofy shtick) continue to praise him for his performance in it. And it’s not like he lost a lot of money from it, he’s Adam freakin’ Sandler. Was his transition into making bad movies done in order to make up for financial failure or letting down his fans? Either way, there was no reason to give us horrid movies such as Bucky Larson and Jack and Jill. His earlier works were never positively received by critics, but I do like a few of them. I really enjoyed films like Happy Gilmore and Big Daddy. Heck, when I was younger, I LOVED Eight Crazy Nights, one of his worst reviewed films, and it’s STILL better than the stuff he comes out with now. It’s because even though it’s always been the Sandler style to display extreme, sophomoric humor, his earlier films had a lot of heart and effort put into it. Though nowadays, it seems like almost every major Hollywood movie is made to make money, so Sandler isn’t the only one to blame here. And yet, he still should be ashamed of himself.