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Review written on: June 25th, 2006

Click Review

I have a sneaking suspicion that Adam Sandler never quite got over the eighties, and not just because one of his better screen vehicles, The Wedding Singer, took place in the Me Decade. In fact, I think almost all of his movies have an eighties feel to them: Happy Gilmore is a 90’s version of Caddyshack; Big Daddy is Three Men and a Baby minus the two best friends. Now, Mr. Sandler gives us Click, a high-concept male-fantasy comedy in the vein of Weird Science, where a guy is given everything he wants through a magical plot device, but has to decide if he really wants it after all.

The device in question is a universal remote controller that Michael Newman (Sandler) quickly discovers allows him to control time in order to manage his increasingly hectic life. The bulk of the movie involves Michael exploiting his new god-like powers in order to make himself happy. The film is directed by longtime Sandler buddy Frank Coraci and many of Sandler’s usual crew show up in bit parts (including the will-he-never-go-away Rob Schneider). It asks us to believe that Michael who has loving parents (Henry Winkler and Julie Kavner), two kids who idolize him, and an understanding babe of a wife (Kate Beckinsale) is somehow so unhappy that he devotes all of his time to making his mercurial boss (David Hasselhoff) happy.

Click is a high-concept movie that never got past the concept. It’s as if Sandler and his frat boys were sitting around and said, “Hey! What if you could change your life with a remote control?” and then they all just showed up on the film’s set to see what would happen. The story is sloppy, tacky and seriously unfunny—there are moments when it is downright embarrassing. The film can’t decide if it’s a grown-up drama about family or a lowbrow poop-and-fart-joke movie. It doesn’t really matter, because it fails on both fronts.

Aside from ruining a potentially cute concept, Click takes a good cast and flushes it down the toilet. Sandler has shown promise in serious films like Punch-Drunk Love and even the messy Spanglish. He earned his comic chops in solid vehicles like Wedding Singer and Big Daddy. Here he’s just obnoxious, so why should we care about some jerk who’s rotten to his family? Beckinsale has no function other than to be pretty, and since the film is sexist (in addition to being racist and homophobic), the screenwriters make repeated reference to her appearance. Then there’s Christopher Walken (wearing a fright wig that out-freaks the one he wore in Batman Returns) as Morty, the mysterious guy who gives Sandler his powerful new toy. It’s a shame to see the Oscar-winning Walken reduced to a bizarre self-parody of his own weirdness. I never thought I would put the following words into print, but I think the best performance in the movie comes from David Hasselhoff as Sandler’s self-absorbed boss. He’s not great, but everyone and everything else in this movie is so resoundingly lousy, he comes off better by comparison. Let me repeat: this film is so bad that it makes DAVID HASSELHOFF look like a good actor. This might be a sign of the end of the world.

Ultimately, Click suffers by comparison to better executed comedies like Liar, Liar and Bruce Almighty. In the final third of the film, it tries to go serious and even a little dark, but the It’s a Wonderful Life/A Christmas Carol dramatics feel forced and synthetic, since the audience hasn’t been given any reasons to care about any of these people. About five minutes into Click, I knew it was crap, and I kept hoping that Morty would turn up in the seat next to me with a remote control of my own, so I could fast forward to the end credits.

 

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