Director: Frank Coraci
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken, David Hasselhoff, Henry Winkler, Sean Astin
Running Time: 107 min.
** (out of ****)
With Click, Adam Sandler has officially made his worst movie. It takes one joke and hits us over the head with it over and over again, nearly forcing us into submission. Worst of all, it doesn't even have the conviction to stay true to it's roots as a slapstick comedy and delivers a final act so out of line with the rest of the picture you'd think somebody stole the final reel and replaced it with the ending of another film. It asks us to believe the impossible. Not that Adam Sandler has a universal remote that controls his universe, but that he's an architect married to Kate Beckinsale and a semi-responsible adult and parent. This is a kinder, gentler Adam Sandler and it doesn't work at all.
Sandler plays Michael Newman, one of those dads who's too busy with work to find time for his wife (Beckinsale in a completely thankless role) and kids. He's expecting a huge promotion from his clueless boss (David Hasselhoff) and must work around the clock to get it, virtually ignoring all of his familial duties, including a camping trip and Fourth of July picnic. He makes a stop one night at Bed, Bath and Beyond looking to purchase a universal remote control and finds himself in the "Beyond" section with a wackjob named Morty (a looney Christopher Walken) who pushes a cool new remote on him. This is the movie's one joke as the remote control allows Michael to rewind, pause, mute or fast forward any part of his life. I wonder if he'll abuse it. Only we find out later, it has a memory (like TIVO) and everything starts spiraling out of control when the remote takes over, attempting to carry out every function from memory it thinks Michael wants.
There are some funny moments early in the film. Scenes where Michael fast forwards through sex, fights with his wife, an annoying family dinner, and anything involving his dog are pretty good (if not repetitive after a while). Then the movie just flies off the tracks when it tries to tackle life lessons and gets very serious. Dead serious. The way the it does this is so bizarre, it ends up being the most (unintentionally) hilarious thing in the picture. The ridiculous lengths the screenplay goes to to show us that Michael isn't appreciating life by fast forwarding it is unreal. Without giving too much away, let's just say people die, Michael's hospitilized (twice!), three actors each play Michael's kid and there are some really bad make-up jobs. What unfolds is so tonally off from all that preceded it it's as if the filmmakers thought this was It's a Wonderful Life. It also delivers an unearned ending that's a complete cheat and made me think this whole enterprise was even more of a waste than I originally thought.
When David Hasselhoff is the funniest thing in your movie you know there's a problem, and I'm not even sure he was funny or I was just laughing because it was David Hasselhoff. Admittedly, Jennifer Coolidge was also pretty good as the oversexed next door neighbor. I'm sure a comedy about them would have been better than this. I understand the need for Adam Sandler to grow up for his audiences, but can't it be in a good movie? And can't we get a little more of the meaner, irresponsible Sandler we had in Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison? I miss that guy. We get a glimpse of it in this movie in scenes where he feuds with an annoying kid neighbor, but other than that he's missing in action. Sandler is one of our best comic actors and is always fun to watch on screen. I'm still waiting for the movie that can properly mesh the likable, self-deprecating, sensitive version of Sandler with the mean, funny one. It'll come. For now though, reach for your remote. Click is skippable.