Moviegoers always flock to the theaters when his latest flick opens. But recently, Adam Sandler movies are stirring up concern among online communities. Is he losing his grip on comedy, mixing too much reality with awkward, youthful slapstick?
Adam Sandler is a phenomenon, really. He always plays the awkward, nerdy, egg-shaped-head sort of guy. . . who miraculously gets the outrageously gorgeous (tramp stamped) women – like the intro montage of 50 First Dates – casting an unrealistic fantasy for moviegoers.
He was always the silly, boyish, lust-fueled character, as he was at the start of Just Go With It (2011), where he drools over a super-model bikini babe, and concocts an elaborate lie to marry her.
So as not to be too shallow, his movie-making formula always ends with a life-lesson (although severely skewed): While men always lust after the hottest women, men must settle for the slightly-less-hot-woman in order to discover true love.
But things have since changed, especially with his new cross-dressing flick, Jack and Jill, starring himself (in two roles), Katie Holmes, and Al Paccino.
(Here’s a recap of an interview, highlighting how Sandler enjoyed playing a woman in Jack and Jill.)
New Adam Sandler Movies: Has He Hit a Midlife Crisis?
Sandler is a bit old for his boyish, lustful character to be believable to moviegoers. Now at age 45, Sandler has recently varied his newer movie themes, dealing more with deeper, coming-of-age issues.
Perhaps his movie Grown Ups (2010) could mark his turning point. The tagline, “Some will be boys…some more than others,” seems to describe Sandler’s movie-making past up to this point.
And the movie calls for men to ponder the deeper things of life, now that they’re…old. “Thirty years later, they gather with their families for their coach’s funeral and a weekend at a house on a lake where they used to party. By now, each is a grownup with problems and challenges…” (imdb.com). His character suggests that boys must eventually grow up and face deeper, adult issues.
Sandler’s New Movies Try to Deal with these Deeper, Adult Issues
Jack and Jill, Sandler’s latest movie, deals with a man who hosts family Thanksgiving, only to find that his sister (played by himself) won’t leave after the festivities are done. The themes involve gender identity, boundaries, caring for your family, etc. And these themes are well and good. However, Sandler hasn’t given up on crude potty humor, and the constant one-liners crowd out the deeper issues.
Reviewers have written scathing recaps, saying the movie is awkward, eerie, and disturbing.
“Now that Adam Sandler, the star of “Jack and Jill,” has settled into grumpy middle age, his comedy shows signs of curdling,” says Robert Abele for The New York Times.
“Sometimes a movie will come along that irks you, [causing] the veins on your head to pop out with frustration to such an extent that you don’t even want to mull it over for days before blasting it with an angry retort,” says Jeremy Kirk at FirstShowing.net.
For many, the cross-dressing element to the movie Jack and Jill sent moviegoers over the edge. Robert Levin at FilmSchoolRejects.com said, “Man oh man, why did he think playing cross-gender twins was a good idea? As Jack and Jill Sadelstein, siblings brought together for the holidays, the actor combines his familiar everyman shtick with a drag act that becomes so excruciatingly unpleasant it inspires involuntary shudders and post-traumatic nightmares.”
The real issue may be that Adam Sandler hasn’t yet found his middle-age grove. He’s trying to “grow up,” yet he still carries his slap-stick, boyish baggage with him. Perhaps, as any parent should, we need to give him a little room to grow, to find his new identity, and finally come-of-age.