Wednesday, June 20, 2012

That's My Boy Or: An Open Letter To Adam Sandler

Dear Adam,

We've had some great times, you and I. I'll never forget the first time we met - you were a wedding singer with a cool 80's style mullet trying to woo the girl of your dreams. I've never laughed that hard at 80's puns, your man-child personality, topped off with a inner sweetness that made the first time watching your comedic performance a charm. Then came your turn as a complete and utter man-child with deep anger issues who gets the chance to be the defensive star on an NCAA football team that had me at "hello": a waterboy-turned college athlete who can kick all kinds of ass? "Water sucks; it really, really sucks?" Hell, it was all brilliant and hilarious! I even liked that one friend who's a major douchebag  and never really came out from under your shadow. You know, the one who was a male gigalo? Anyway, that was an awesome role, and you not only earned a fan, but an admirer of your work. From Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore (your earliest stuff), to Big Daddy and Mr. Deeds (yes, my devotion to your movies went to me defending your performance in the TV show-turned remake for the big screen).

But somewhere, in the middle of it all, we began to grow apart.

You see, it was 2002, and you were at an all-time high, and that admiration turned into full-blown astonishment in Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch Drunk Love, a romantic comedy lost in the shuffle with Eternal Sunshine, (500) Days of Summer, and Once as one of the best rom-coms of the last 10 years. You were playing the same man-child, but here, your anger wasn't used for comedic effect: it was to convey just how deep that anger resides in yourself, and how you could snap at any moment. It was a little scary, but if also showed just how fragile and scared your character was, and how much he was willing to fight to be with the woman you loved. The peculiar nature of your and Emily Watson was charming and deeply heartfelt and full of understanding about where the other person has been up until that moment. Quite simply, your performance was a revelation. In that very same year, you followed up with the animated flop, Eight Crazy Nights, a rather crude and nasty animated feature about troubled man-boy who has to do community service or face time in the slammer during Hanukkah. The fact your character did everything in his power to make everyone else's holiday a living hell really rubbed me the wrong way. 

Slowly, but surely, it's gone downhill from here. Sure, you were in some good roles, the best being a funny, but major jerk comedian dying of cancer in Funny People, and yes, I thought Click was oversentemental (especially in the last third of the movie) but there was a maturity you displayed as a workoholic father who comes across a remote enabling him to slowdown, or speed up his life and it was a nice change of pace for you, but other than those two movies? 

Anger Management
Grown Ups
Just Go With It
You Don't Mess With the Zohan?????? 
To be perfectly blunt, Adam: what the fuck!? 
Even worse is your studio company, Happy Gilmore productions, which have been behind some of the worst comedies i've ever seen, including Deuce Bigalo 2The Hot Chick,The Animal, and Paul Blart: Mall Cop, just to name a few. But after those bad movies you either wrote, produced and starred in, that there was no whay you could sink any lower, or put more stress on a relationship that was edging closer and closer to its preaking point.

Then I watched your latest movie, That's My Boy.

I hoped i'd neer say these words, but here they are: Adam, i'm done with you. I can't stand what you're becoming, and i'm not about to give you another cent to watch you become a self-loathing parody of the man I enjoyed watching all those years ago. It's clear to me now that he's not coming back anytime soon, and that you're not even trying anymore. If you were, you'd realize just what an ugly, mean-spirited and disgusting comedy this is: I don't need to heat about 8th graders talking about handjobs the first 90 seconds in, and I don't need to see a younger version of you banging his teacher behind the curtains of the school's auditorium two minutes later! Look, I love a happily offensive vulgar comedy as much as the next person (The Hangover, Superbad) but when your movie exploits pedophilia for cheap laughs, there's no one - not Todd Phillips, not Judd Apatow, not even Sasha Baron Cohen - that can make this premise funny. Worse yet, this  "romance" accidentally gives birth to Todd (played by Andy Samberg), Sandler's estranged son who all but lied about his his parents died in a cataclysmic car accident. We don't blame him. Todd's about to get married to his fiancee, Jame (Leighton Meester), while the father, Donny (Sandler) is looking at prison for not paying back taxes unless he can get 43,000 by Tuesday. Donny returns to Todd's life, and the wedding is thrown into comic chaos. 

Adam, I don't know what's worse: the gags about masturbating to your son's mother's boss (who's well into her 80's BTW), the exploitation of female characters as either skanks, strippers, whores, or back-stabbing bitches, or the fact you dragged SNL alum, notable meda and sports figures, to 80's has-been Vanillia Ice and Academy-Award winner Susan Sarandon down with you. Either way, there isn't a single person in this piece of shit that escapes with having their dignity tarnished in some way. 

See how angry I am at you, Adam? How your regression has hurt me, and countless other fans? Of course you don't, because those movies have made money at the box office, no matter how tired your schtick has become, or how routine and unoriginal the gags are. I don't want to feel fustrated by you anymore, or how you're wasting away comedic talent for bottom-of-the-barrel laughs. I want to remember the good times, not movies like Zohan, or Grown Ups, especially not this or last year's Jack and Jill which I have not seen, but given how bad this current movie is, i'm better off in blissful ignorance about how much of a turd that apparently was.

Maybe you'll come out with something better, or at least, something that doesn't remind me of watching Good Luck Chuck. At this point, I doubt it. So, i'm saying goodbye to you now, Adam. It's been a fun ride, but i'm maturing now. You, sadly, never have. 

All the best, 


Zero stars out of ****

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