What are the odds that a person watching Oscar-nominated movies would end up staring at Adam Sandler? Before this year, the odds were zero. Click is the first Sandler movie to get an Oscar nomination (for makeup), and so it becomes the first Adam Sandler movie I have seen in more than a decade. Prior to this I’d seen two: Airheads, where Sandler is not the lead (which no one liked but I found amiable … it has Brendan Fraser, who can make anything amiable), and Billy Madison, which people liked but I thought was so crappy I never bothered to see another of his films. It’s safe to say, if I don’t “get” modern comedy, I REALLY don’t get Adam Sandler, who admittedly did make me laugh the first time I heard “The Longest Pee” (I quit laughing before the end of that first time, and haven’t laughed since). So I am not the best judge of Click … I can’t compare it to Spanglish or 50 First Dates or The Wedding Singer or Happy Gilmore, because I never saw any of them.
Looking at his credits without seeing the movies, I’d venture a guess that Sandler is trying to expand his reach beyond the base of young men who will laugh at anything he does … kinda like Jim Carrey. Click has its share of bodily-function jokes, but it also tries to push a moral. As everyone has noted, it’s an oddball remake of It’s a Wonderful Life, another movie I like less than do most people. The Capra film, a Xmas tradition and rumored to be a family treasure, is actually quite dark. The darkness comes from what befalls the hero. Click farts around with darkness, but its heart isn’t in the effort. On the one hand, we’re supposed to feel for Sandler’s character as he places work over family and ruins his life in the process (there’s your moral: family is more important than work). On the other hand, when Sandler is acting out his jerkiness, we’re supposed to laugh (his Universal Remote allows him to pause the world, among other things, giving him the opportunity to fart in David Hasselhoff’s face, kick Sean Astin in the balls, arrange to have a little kid hit in the face with a baseball, that kind of thing). Sometimes those scenes are funny, but they don’t do much to shore up the so-called moral. It’s as if the movie has to stop its inexorable and inevitable procession of Workaholics Are Bad stuff so that Sandler’s fart fans can have a few moments to chuckle over.
Sandler himself is another problem. He can be funny, and when he’s not being funny, he doesn’t stink. But that’s faint praise, and when he is required to show real emotion in a couple of meant-to-be heart-wrenching scenes, he’s not up to the challenge.
And the makeup, the reason I watched the movie in the first place? It runs hot and cold … fat Sandler doesn’t really work, but Kate Beckinsale looks great in her aged mode, and Sandler himself looks very believable in his middle-aged makeup. It’s nothing you haven’t seen done better in The Nutty Professor, but then, what else is gonna get a Best Makeup nom?