I hate Adam Sandler.
Now that we have that out of the way, I don’t mean to say Adam Sandler is a hate-able person. He’s not. Who knows? He may actually be a very nice person.
My issue is that he has become washed-up – a ’90s comedian who has failed to grow as a talent, as an actor and as a comedic persona, to the point where he’s no longer trying to entertain, but rather line his pockets and go on vacations with his friends. Noble goals, sure, but they do nothing to further the industry.
I think I probably just lost half of you. For those readers who persevere – wow, you must hate Adam Sandler as much as I do.
There was a moment when the switch flipped for me and I realized that the Adam Sandler I knew and loved was gone (Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, The Wedding Singer – that guy). It was in, the aptly named, Click. For those of you fortunate enough to miss this travesty of a movie, here’s a synopsis: Dude (played by Adam Sandler) gets a remote control that controls the world, antics ensue, the fun music turns sad, the audience learns a lesson, and we all leave the theatre feeling fulfilled. Or at least that was the idea. Instead, we got nuclear waste inside of a dumpster fire with flaming zombie raccoons gnawing at it. This movie marked Adam Sandler’s misguided attempt to turn from being a fresh, talented, sometimes edgy comedian – known primarily for his funny quips and rants – to a more serious and family friendly actor. This attempt was spawned from the unlikely success of 50 First Dates, and was a disaster.
Adam Sandler never quite recovered from Click. He forged ahead in this direction, creating such skid-mark productions as I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Jack and Jill, Grown Ups (he got two vomit buckets out of that ‘franchise’), the infamous Ridiculous 6, and Pixels… the movie that almost took Tyrion Lannister down with it. In the 15 movies that Sandler has acted in since 2010, Rotten Tomatoes has rated them an average of 22.9%. If you take out the two outliers (Ridiculous 6 receiving 0%, Top 5, where he is credited as playing himself, receiving 86%), then the rating actually goes down to 20.66%. So this brings us to the title question – Why is Adam Sandler? Meaning, why is he still famous, funny, and liked? Why does Netflix throw money at him to churn out films that wouldn’t make a hyena laugh? Why?
The answer is simple. Adam Sandler has nothing to prove. He doesn’t need to be funny, and he doesn’t need to be the fresh, cutting edge comedian he was in the ’90s. He doesn’t have to show that he has the chops, or the ability to make people laugh. He doesn’t really even have to make people laugh anymore. Adam Sandler has turned from a flesh and blood actor/comedian/screenwriter to a living, breathing comedy brand.
Compare Sandler to Apple. In the first days, they both were on the forefront of their respective fields. They were shocking people with their innovations (for Sandler, with his rants). Now, they are content to sit back and have their fan base come to them. A new iPhone feature? I MUST HAVE IT! A new Adam Sandler flick? I MUST SEE IT. It’s got more memory now and syncs to my watch? HOW NEW! He’s in a desert playing a cowboy in the wild west? HOW ORIGINAL. It’s an iPhone! It’s an Adam Sandler classic!
He’s got a dedicated fan base who loves the Sandler brand, and he’ll keep churning out slop like Ridiculous 6 and Pixels. But, honestly, these movies are not the reason to hate him. Sandler’s movies are just that – Adam Sandler movies. The reason I hate him is because Sandler doesn’t need to push himself anymore – he’s made it. And he can keep coasting on that brand, denying the world of what could have been had he ever really worked at being a comedian again.
– Noah Cheely