' ' Cinema Romantico: Click It Off (For the Love of God, Click It Off)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Click It Off (For the Love of God, Click It Off)

You've gotta' hand it to Adam Sandler - the guy has discovered and perfected a formula that works. The outline for his movies is as set in stone as a Bond film. It's "what the people want". That's what I always hear, at least. Adam Sandler gives the "people what they want". Of course, how do the "people" know any better? Advertisers and studio execs stuff what they assume "people" want right down the "people's" throat. "People" don't get really get a choice and if they do they're so used to what they get they just choose the same thing. It's the equivalent of eating fish your whole life in Des Moines. You come to assume that's how fish is supposed to taste. Then one day you have fish in Half Moon Bay, California and you realize that's how fish is supposed to taste. But, of course, most people out there would get to Half Moon Bay and choose to have a burger and fries instead because that piece of fish looks a bit too exotic (kind of like those funky Italian neo-realism films). After all, why watch, say, "The Bicycle Thief" when "Happy Gilmore" is on TNT for 461st time?

But there I go digressing, as I'm so prone to do. This entire review threatens to become a diatribe on Adam Sandler and that's not my intention. Well, maybe it is - but it shouldn't be. I enjoy Adam Sandler......a little bit. I enjoyed most of "The Wedding Singer". I appreciated Bob Barker kicking the crap out of him in "Happy Gilmore". The college football fanatic in me adored the Brent Musburger/Dan Fouts cameos in "The Waterboy". And I downright loved "Punch Drunk Love" although that was less an Adam Sandler movie than a movie Adam Sandler was in. (And isn't that the classic film snob thing to say? The best Adam Sandler movie is "Punch Drunk Love"? It totally is and that's why I'm proud to say it.)

Damn it! I'm digressing again! What movie is this thing supposed to be about? Right, "Click". That's what I just watched. Let me get my bearings straight here. Okay........so, I saw "Click" last night. It tells the story of Michael Newman (Adam Sandler) a workaholic who comes into possession of a universal remote control that literally allows him to control his universe. You can pretty much guess each and every plot point from there since, after all, it's an Adam Sandler movie. But that's not fair, is it? The esteemed film critic Roger Ebert says, "It's not what a movie is about but how it's about it." This is an excellent creed to follow and one which I do. So how is "Click" about it?

The "humor" is of the variety wherein if you were to, let's say, make a bet with your fellow theater-goer as to how long it would take for there to be a scene with a dog humping something you wouldn't even have time to determine the stakes before, by golly, a dog turned up humping something. (And what exactly is the genesis of the dog humping something scene? Do writers actually think this is clever? Do they laugh out loud while they type it? Do they high-five each other when they're done?)

I mean, you'd think a movie where a guy can control his own life would go in all kinds of cool and unique directions, but not a chance. He simply fast forwards through arguments with his wife and (get ready to laugh until your jaw hurts!) make his boss fat. (High-five!) It's all the more frustrating because there's funny things on the fringe of the movie that aren't explored. There's something truly humorous, I think, in Christopher Walken working out of the backroom of a Bed, Bath and Beyond but it just lays there. There's a gag involving James Earl Jones' doing a voice-over that's the funniest thing in the movie. But it only happens twice. Why? Why limit this to a mere two times? Oh, right. We need to see a dog humping something again (high-five).

And, by the way, what's the deal with these movies where a guy gets special powers being so consumed with promotions at work. That's the biggest crisis he has in the whole movie. That was the biggest crisis Jim Carrey had in "Bruce Almighty". Why can't they push it further and deeper? Oh, right. They'd prefer to have dogs humping something (high-five).

Midway through I thought to myself wouldn't it be wonderful if the movie actually didn't conclude with the "it was all a dream" scene? But then I realized just how stupid that thought was. And then I realized just how stupid this whole movie was. And then I realized I just wished (and here I'm staying with the spirit of the clever humor of the movie itself) I had a universal remote of my own so I could fast-forward straight through to end and get it over with.

Perhaps most disturbing, though, is Sandler's failure to recognize the theme of his own movie. It suddenly veers in the third act from a "comedy" to, essentially, a very crummy variation on "It's a Wonderful Life". Sandler has realized that life isn't about work and that he needs to follow his heart and do what's right. And I think if the Sandler at the end of "Click" learned of the real Adam Sandler's movie choices, he'd kick his ass.

(Note: Last week I addressed the fact that Kate Beckinsale was in need of a new agent and what poor actress should turn up in "Click" as the ancient archetype of the neglected yet supportive spouse but Kate Beckinsale? Couldn't they have given her one decent line? Just one? Uh, no. So, in relation to this, I will say to any agents or studio heads that may stumble upon this blog, I have a biting, chracter-driven script with a dark-haired female as the lead. Okay. Not really. But I could bang one out this weekend.)


Rory Larry said...

Of course if you banged out a script such as you say over the weekend it would most likely be a piece of crap, so the agents would say yes, Kate would act in it horribly (both because the script would be bad and she is a horrible actress) and you would be back to square one.

Rory Larry said...

If they had used the James Earl Jones gimic more than twice, I think it would have lost its value as a joke. As it stood the reason I laughed so hard the second time it was used is because I had forgotten about it in the first place and part of my laughter was recalling how clever that idea was.