Let me take you back to the glorious year of 1998, when comedian Adam Sandler was the goofy man child audiences couldn't get enough of. Sandler came out with the one two punch of his romantic-comedy The Wedding Singer, as well as the nonsensical The Waterboy. The actor had been riding high on a series of hits, like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, although they were completely bashed apart by critics everywhere. But hey, they're comedy movies, why take them too seriously if they make you laugh? And laugh we did as Sandler and his buddies farted and beat themselves silly on their way to the top.
Yes the 90s and early 2000s were the peak of Sandler's career, and while he still makes movies today the magic has unmistakably vanished. Today the comedian appears to be just going through the motions in most of his films; uninspired and uninterested. That is sadly the two best words I have to describe Sandler's new movie, The Ridiculous 6, which is the first of 4 outings the SNL alum has agreed to release exclusively on Netflix. Perhaps its because Sandler knows that his films don't pull in as much money as they used to that he signed this deal with Netflix. He's had a series of duds with Jack and Jill, Blended, and most recently The Cobbler, which was the worst box office failure of the comedian's career. Maybe he thinks that Netflix is a safer bet than the domestic box office. Whatever the reason, it seems that creatively Adam Sandler has lost his mojo, his juice, or his can of whoop-ass if you will. Back in the Happy Gilmore days you could tell the comedian was having a blast making his movies, even though the occasional joke might misfire. Now the actor appears melancholy, bored and desperate. And The Ridiculous 6 is a movie that wreaks of desperation.
The Ridiculous 6 stars Sandler as an outlaw raised by Native Americans, who's just been contacted by his estranged bank robbing father played by Nick Nolte. The reunion is short lived however as the father is kidnapped by his former gang. Sandler, who is appropriately or inappropriately named "White Knife," then sets out on a trail across the West to raise enough money to set his father, who he only knew for a day, free. Along the way he finds that his father has gotten around during his stint as an outlaw, and joins up with 5 step-brothers. Of course only knowing them for one day as well, they all agree to drop everything they're doing to help "White Knife" rescue their father, who they've all never met.
So the plot is paper thin, but that's okay because its an Adam Sandler movie, and we all know we don't watch these things for the highly cerebral story lines. We watch them to laugh. And that is where The Ridiculous 6 truly falls short. It simply isn't funny. I'm not saying that the movie is so stupid that I couldn't find it funny. I still watch Happy Gilmore or Billy Madison and crack up. It's just that the jokes in Sandler's Western get gunned down before they even leave the gate. It appears as if Sandler looks completely bored with the whole experience here. For a guy that was a top player on SNL for years the jokes here are flat and stale, coming too far and between in a movie that has long pauses of exposition and useless dialog.
Another big problem is that the movie, which is already too long at 2 hours, is that its jam packed with cameos from everyone from Rob Schneider (durp) to Vanilla Ice. Normally in a comedy movie this would be a good thing, but most of the actors in The Ridiculous 6 either look completely lost or are just hamming it up to the point of absurdity. Schneider has a running joke about how his Donkey likes to violently shit diarrhea, Jorge Garcia talks in grunts, Taylor Launter is the village idiot and Vanilla Ice plays a hip-hopping Mark Twain which doesn't make much sense. The only scene that played remotely well was John Turturro's discovery of baseball. Its as if though the director, the clearly uninspired Frank Coraci, just gave the actors their characters, pointed a camera at them, and said "Ok, now be funny." The lack of direction in this movie is comical in itself. Either the Happy Madison troop has lost its edge or its so out of touch with today's culture it doesn't know how to remain comical.
I'm not a guy who just loves bashing Adam Sandler movies. I think the guy is actually underrated and undeserved of all the hate that he receives from the masses. But that doesn't mean I won't be unmerciful in the critiques of his films. The Ridiculous 6 is not a good movie. It's not a good comedy, its not a good Western, its not a good anything. The movie just looks like it was a rushed production from start to finish, and it doesn't even make up for the shoddy production by being funny. It's just boring and sad to watch. It seems that 20 years is a long time to be making childish, goofball movies, and Adam Sandler might be at the end of the line.
Recommended if you like boring movies.
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