The Do-Over (2016) Adam Sandler, David Spade: Buddy Movie

Adam Sandler in The Do-Over

Not being an Adam Sandler fan, expectations for “The Do-Over” were not high (basement level would be an adequate description) and his latest offering did not disappoint. The mid-life crisis buddy movie was not horrible but neither was it very good.  The best thing that can be said of Sandler’s most recent attempt at comedy is that it was marginally better than “The Ridiculous 6.”

Co-written by Kevin Barnett and Chris Pappas and directed by Steven Brill (who can direct a funny film as evidenced with the 2004 comedy “Without a Paddle”) “The Do-Over” is a buddy picture that manages to change direction so often that it almost slips unnoticed into a hidden subplot about a cure for cancer. 

Charlie (David Spade) is at his high school reunion watching his wife dirty dancing with her ex-husband on the dance floor. In the middle of this uncomfortable moment he bumps into Max (Adam Sandler). The two childhood buddies take time to catch up and Max reveals that he is in the FBI.

Later he invites Charlie to party on his boat and the two men have a blast. The boat explodes and Max tells Charlie that they are officially dead.  The two men take on the identities of a couple of murdered men that Max says he just found. They find money and a mansion in Puerto Rico where they move.

After a few identity changes, on Max’s part, and an attack by a small group of assassins, Max and Charlie (now Butch and Ron)  try to learn why the real Butch and Ron were murdered and try to keep one step ahead of the killers.

One does have to admire Sandler for leaving his “Happy Gilmore” and “The Water Boy” days behind him.  He is trying bring fans more “50 First Dates” and “Blended” where Sandler plays more grown-up characters.

In “The Do-Over” Sandler’s character is part action man, cool dude and misogynistic douche.  David Spade is the more likable of the two men. His Wilbur Milquetoast character is amusing, to a degree, but he is so malleable that it is hard to believe he ever  became a bank manager.

There are chuckle worthy moments but nothing that really tickles the funny bone.  Sandler’s character has a disease that is killing him and the man does really look ill. Gaunt featured  with deep brackets around his mouth make Sandler look quite unwell in his second Netflix feature.

Michael Chiklis has small cameo as the cuckold neighbor who initially wants to beat Ron/Charlie with a baseball bat and who then bellows in agony after being shot, twice. Sean Astin has a cameo as the ex who turns Charlie into the cuckold with his wife.  Never let it be said that Sandler will not beat a joke to death in a film. 

Luis Guzmán also has a cameo as “Jorge the shooter boy” a fairly small but funny part where he is the third partner in a three-way with Charlie and the next-door neighbor’s wife.

The humor is not necessarily as juvenile as Sandler’s earlier efforts, it has at least gone past the one joke premise attempting to last the entire film (The Ridiculous 6) although his character Max still views women primarily as sexual challenges to be conquered.

(Despite the lengthy fight between two strong women later in the film, it is clear that the men watching see this as a “dry” mud wrestling match as they leer at the violence the two females inflect on one another. This is not a statement at all, just another excuse to see women fight and in absence of a beer, pass the spliff dude.)

After watching the film twice, in an effort to find more in the way of redeeming qualities, the final verdict is that this is a 3 out of 5 star film.  The extra star is for the screenplay where a few twists and turns were added to the already illogical script which could be seen as  a loose  remake of the equally unfunny 1969 Jerry Lewis picture “Hook, Line and Sinker” (called, at time, Hook, Line and Stinker by critics).

Adam Sandler keeps doing comedy films where his characters either appear to be almost normal grownups or are capable of being complete kick-arse action men. Why? Is it because he will be 50 this year?

The man can act, he has done so with Drew Barrymore on more than one occasion.  Perhaps his deal with Netflix will find him a new fanbase and allow him to break this cycle of unfunny comedy offerings.  Until he manages to  break free of film’s past, his current fans may well enjoy “The Do-Over.” Those who are not bowled over by Sandler may want to give it a miss.


The Ridiculous 6: A Slapstick Video Game Western

It could be seen as tiresome for a joke about taking knives to a gun fight to last almost two hours, as does The Ridiculous 6, but then a slapstick comedic attempt at a video game western could be forgiven for a having too much of a mediocre thing.

Adam Sandler and company in The Ridiculous 6

It could be seen as tiresome for a joke about taking knives to a gun fight to last almost two hours, as does The Ridiculous 6, but then a slapstick comedic attempt at a video game western could be forgiven for a having  too much of a mediocre thing.  Fans of Adam Sandler, may   enjoy this star studded offering, while others may want to do as “Smoking Fox” suggests and  “gouge their eyes out,” after 159 minutes of nonstop Sandler.

Perhaps the biggest issue with this “comedy” western, apart from the blending of genres and entertainment mediums, is that it feels like one long Saturday Night Live skit.  Like the vast majority of Sandler’s films that all have the same feel and similar formula.  The Ridiculous 6 could have been called “Happy Gilmore Goes West” and lost nothing.

Starring Chandler, Nick Nolte, Harvey Keitel, Taylor Lautner and Luke Wilson, along with the ever-present Danny Trejo, The Ridiculous 6 has a impressive pedigree of actor mixed in with SNL alumni who fill out the cast; Jon Lovitz,  Rob Schneider. With a  cameo by Steve Buscemi as a dentist/barber/doctor and John Turturro as Abner Doubleday one can only wonder what Sandler held over these performers to entice them to be in the film.

Sandler plays “White Knife” and/Tommy depending on what hat he wears, who goes to save his re-discovered father Frank Stockburn (Nolte) and along the way finds five men who all share his paternal genes.  Sandler’s idea of a taciturn western character is to growl in a low tone while gazing laconically at the camera.

For all about the film that annoys,  bores and (typical of Sandler’s one note humor) is too silly for words, there are funny moments that stand out.  There are also performances that lend themselves to praise.

For instance, Taylor Lautner has well and truly left the horrid verse of Twilight behind and shown that he can do comedic impressions. As Lil’ Pete,  Lautner gets to keep his shirt on and do his version of a simpleton Ashton Kutcher.  The actor is funny and this is either one hell of a homage to Mila Kunis’ new hubby or one massive “mickey take.” Whichever way, Taylor is leaning in his performance, he does leave his mark.

On a sidenote, the film looks great. Very “western-y” all pole corrals, proper looking saloons and outfits that fit.  It must be this “focus” on authenticity that moved the “True West” magazine’s “film critic” to speak so favorably about the film.

Standout gags:

Steve Buscemi and the ointment gag, not once but twice.  Buscemi manages to make one jar of ointment as disgusting as possible. Cringingly funny.

Luke Wilson and Harvey Keitel with the glass gag. Wilson’s character annoys Smiley (Keitel) who proceeds to beat the dickens out of Danny (Wilson). The saloon owner throws the man about like a giant rag doll and punches him repeatedly, all the while not one drop from the half-full glass is spilt.

Harvey Keitel, again as the headless Smiley.

The entire “Danny backstory” about Abe Lincoln.

Nick Nolte single-handedly populating most of the old west

Terry Crews and his red Michael Jackson outfit.

Brit English entertainment reporter Robin Leach providing the “voice” of Herm (Lost actorJorge Garcia)

Jorge Garcia as Herm.

The entire Left-Eye Gang buried in the dirt, up to their heads, and the crow, ants, lizard and snake…

Nick Nolte’s “Sh*t happens,” line.

The brilliant actor Steve Zahn and his cock-eye performance as Clem.

Honorable Mention:

Taylor Lautner’s scene on the gallows.

Annoying things:

The “Native American” gags are nowhere near as funny as Sandler seems to believe.

Sandler’s preoccupation with Let’s Make a Deal and Bob Barker.

The taking a knife to a gunfight gag that runs throughout the film and the fact that the star and his director feel the need to actually point out the joke in case we missed it.

The Assassin’s Creed style of climbing walls.

The giant gold nugget that was light enough for a single man to carry.

Adam Sandler’s vocal delivery.

Rob Schneider’s Mexican accent.

The entire Mark Twain, Gen. Custer and Wyatt Earp poker game and the “gangster-speak.”

The apparent nod to Annabelle.

There were bits that missed the saddle completely. The end credits, with their Spaghetti Western animation a’la A Fistful of Dollars felt that is belonged to a different film completely. The Ridiculous 6 had nothing to do with Leone-esque type westerns or any other oater genre.

Sandler had issues with a number of his Native American cast walking off in disgust at his humor.  Amazingly, there were no non-Native American cast members who left for the same reason.   It really does beggar believe as to how Sandler got actors like Keitel and Buscemi, and Nolte to sign up.

The Ridiculous 6 is an uneven affair that has moments of hilarity, tediousness and forced humor.  This comedy western is a “straight-to-Netflix” effort, funded by the site, and it feels right at home in the medium.

This is a 3.5 out of 5 stars, earning such a high mark because the gags that do work are hysterically funny.  Fans of Sandler will love this effort and should go over to Netflix now and watch it. Others may want to give this a miss, although there are bits which tickle the funny bone. People who do not think that Adam Sandler is that funny will definitely want to avoid this film,  instead of gouging out eyeballs.

Top Five: A Chris Rock Take on Celebrity (Review and Trailer)

Top Five: A Chris Rock Take on Celebrity (Review and Trailer)

Written, directed by and starring Chris Rock, Top Five is his take on Celebrity with its pitfalls, problems, fears and since this is Chris Rock, the comedy behind the fame. This is the second time that the 49 year old stand up comedian, actor, writer, director, and producer has donned three hats for a film. In 2007, Rock was also a “three man band” on I Think I Love My Wife and that film, which was a romantic dramedy, was pretty much panned by critics upon its release. This is Rock’s third time directing a feature length film and his fourth time directing, when including one episode of his television comedy series Everybody Hates Chris.

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler Sing Decade Duet (Video)

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler Sing Decade Duet (Video)

On the new Jimmy Fallon hosted Tonight Show Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler sang a comic “decade duet” aka, The 10 Years Song. The two actors have worked before and have proven to have an on-screen magic together. They are teaming up again to work on a new romantic comedy, Blended where they play a couple of single parents who, after a disastrous blind date, go to the same African wild life resort. The two bond while comically interacting with the locals, animals, their kids and each other…

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