There’s a good and bad to Netflix. It grants creators license to do some wild shit for very niche audiences. But most Netflix movies suffer a made-for-television feel that costs a film’s vitality. Somewhere in the middle, there’s Adam Sandler, benefiting from both.
Or that’s what I assume, anyway. I haven’t seen many of these Netflix films, but I’m going to spend this week checking them out to see if a license to do whatever he wants has helped him create any new secret classics stupid fans like me can use to defend him when the need arises. I’m not including his standup special 100% FRESH because it’s superiority is not to be argued.
Today’s Entry: THE DO-OVER
Directed By Steve Brill (LITTLE NICKY, MR. DEEDS)
NOT written or co-written by Adam Sandler
Love or hate THE RIDICULOUS 6 (okay, just hate it), you have to at least admit Adam Sandler’s first foray into Netflix territory aimed only for laughs even at the cost of audience members. A dirty, gross-out Western that stops for a campfire singalong and features Harvey Keitel shooting his own decapitated head isn’t hitting all four quadrants.
I’ll take THE RIDICULOUS 6 over THE DO-OVER any day of the week. While this isn’t a typical bad Adam Sandler movie (it would earn a strong R-rating and doesn’t feature a family friendly Sandler character), it does exemplify lazy Sandler, hanging out in amazing locals with this buddy, seemingly not too worried about the movie itself.
The full plot is too crazy to go into, but it starts with David Spade as a wimpy loser. At a class reunion, he rekindles a friendship with wild man Adam Sandler, who ultimately fakes both their deaths for a fresh start that takes them into a big conspiracy that ends long after you’ve stopped keeping track of it. Luckily, they repeatedly spell everything out for you, so you can watch a different movie on your phone and still know what’s happening while not caring.
Everyman Sandler, Sad Sandler, or Wild Sandler?
Wild Sandler. He doesn’t do a voice in this one, but he shoots guns. The problem is his character lies through the whole movie, and it’s that kind of acting where the audience is supposed to suspect he’s lying but not know the truth so they can feel smart but not know why. By design he rarely acts with sincerity. Unfortunately, this keeps us at arm's length from him, pushing all our concern onto David Spade, which is not a good idea.
Sandler Regulars Present
Obviously David Spade, but Nick Swarsdon shows up as well. Near the end there is a Robert Smigel cameo.
Of the non-Sandler actors, Luis Guzmán and his fake sweaty testicles (which we see) take the cake, but we also get Paula Patton, Kathryn Hahn, Michael Chiklis and Matt Walsh.
Would It Make It To Theaters?
No, not like this. Not this R-rated and not co-starring David Spade. If someone as high profile as Adam Sandler co-starred maybe, but I don’t think such a pairing would be used on this plot. This has a very made-for-streaming lack of urgency and scope.
Is it funny, or does it just sound funny?
It just sounds funny. Again, hate THE RIDICULOUS 6 all you want, but it at least had joke construction. Most of the jokes here feel like they were written by a Hooters. Women are not treated well at all, and gay panic jokes about like it’s 1991 or something. It comes close to be being funny and I like the audacity of its R-rating being used mostly to show us Luis Guzmán’s balls and some crazy old lady breasts, but there’s not much here, especially once the conspiracy plot starts taking over in the second half.
Weirdly, the comedy in this film goes with a rule of two instead of the typical rule of three. Nick Swarsdon gets hit by two cars as they burst out of a garage, getting more physically destroyed each time. Then they drop it. Sandler has a weird thing near the end where he twice forgets the word “vice” for some reason. Not great runners, but you keep waiting for a third iteration that never arrives. Revolutionary!
Torsten Voges plays a hitman who does a bunch of gymnastics. He’s about as funny as the film gets.
Is it too goddamn long?
Yes, at around 110 minutes, THE DO-OVER is too goddamn long. And this time it’s not because of fun diversions. There’s just too much plot.
Bad Sandler, Good Sandler, or Great Sandler?
Bad Sandler. I’ve now seen this twice (whoops, I accidentally lied in the intro), so I’m saying this with confidence. This sort of free for all, who cares stuff haunted a lot of Sandler’s theatrical films, but it’s even worse here.