(Release Date: June 23, 2006)
Why? Aside from the fact that this feels like the uncomfortable mashing together of both Adam Sandler personas (the Billy Madison guy and the... uh... okay, I guess there's just the one, then)... Let me try again: The charming family drama is wrapped around the screaming psycho Sandler just waiting to freak out and kick someone's ass. Aside from that, this feels a lot like movies that have already been made to varied success already. I got the impression that writers Steve Koren and Mark O'Keefe decided to lift the idea of fast forwarding, pausing and rewinding of Reality from 1983's Two of a Kind, then watched that episode of Family Guy in which Peter accidentally discovers the mystical "Beyond" part of Bed Bath and Beyond, then topped it off with a healthy dose of It's a Wonderful Life for the sugar on top. Put it all up against the backdrop of Bruce Almighty (which by the way, the same two guys also wrote), then roll it up, roll it up and hand it to The Waterboy and The Wedding Singer director Frank Coraci and put Smiling Adam Sandler in the lead and the whole thing fills in its many plot holes with scatological humor and gross-out sex jokes.
In this incarnation of the same stories, architect Michael Newman (Sandler) is just coasting through his miserable life. His house has only two stories, he's only on the cusp of making Partner at his big ass firm, his car actually has a dent in it and his wife Donna is played by Kate Beckinsale. OH BOO-HOO!!! Yeah, don't we all just feel for his pathetic existence? Deciding that they didn't already have enough Product Placement by constantly referencing Hostess Twinkies, Cupcakes and other treats, Michael leaves the house in a huff, passing by a series of big name stores (which he says aloud while the camera shows their distinct logos) before finding the convenient and fairly priced Bed Bath and Beyond store actually open. You see, the dad who barely has time for his kids and his incredibly hot wife decides he needs to simplify his life by getting a Universal Remote Control... what is this a period piece?
Enter Morty, the quirky inventor guy from the "Beyond" (or "Way Beyond") department of Bed Bath and Beyond (humorously played by Christopher Walken). Morty hands Michael an experimental "Universal Remote" that programs itself and learns from what it's told to do. As anyone who's seen the previews knows, Michael soon finds that this remote not only controls the Television, DVD Player, VCR, RC Car and Garage Door Opener, but also the volume of his dog's bark, the tint and contrast to his skin, the dimensions of his coworkers and the speed at which he coasts through life. Soon, Michael is pausing, rewinding, adjusting, reviewing and even adding commentary (in another high point provided by the voice of James Earl Jones).
Naturally all this bodes wonderfully well for our main man, he can skip fights, race through traffic, pull back to Slow Motion for Beautiful Bouncing Breasts, pause his obnoxious boss Ammer (David Hasselhoff) and even mute his wife's over-surgically enhanced, whiny friend Janine (Jennifer Coolidge). Unfortunately for him, what he's usually doing is fast forwarding through life, skipping the dull parts (on "auto-pilot") to the peak points in his life. Of course that seems like a good idea at first, but when he starts missing out on the lives of his kids, and the relationship with his wife, he realizes that this remote is controlling more of his life than he wants.
Unfortunately for me, I didn't have such a remote with which to fast forward through the majority of this overlong and boring second act. That would most certainly have been a good idea. What would I have missed? Unnecessary exposition, repetitive and familiar Sandlerisms, painful sight gags (Sean Astin in a Speedo???), "comedy" surrounding repeated attacks to the groin, unrealistic hammed-up acting (Sandler, Hasselhoff and Walken seem to be in a "Most Cartoonish" contest half the time) and Fart Jokes. How bad is this? There is a running gag relating to the family dog humping a stuffed animal; Sandler pauses life to stand on his boss' desk to pass gas in his face... for about three minutes; a source of alleged "comedy" is how often Sandler's character ends up smiling after sex while his wife goes to sleep dissatisfied. Hardy Har Har!!! There were points during this cow-flop that I was debating between Two Stars and a Dog.
However, during the last twenty minutes Click works hard to redeem itself (if not to embrace a hell of a lot of originality) with a fast forward ride into the future. That last act manages to actually be touching with a real exploitation of the alleged subtext of missing out on all the great things in life. Here is where Adam Sandler proves once again that he's a fine actor, who rarely breaks out of the Happy Gilmore mold. Keeping up with him are Henry Winkler (Michael's dad), Julie Kavner (Michael's mom) and most notably that Son of a Dustin, Jake Hoffman, who plays the adult version of Michael's son. The pathos is played well, but is still tempered with the comedy (that works sometimes and fails sometimes). It almost approaches the depth of futuristic feeling of Bicentennial Man (the... uh... book, not the movie so much). It's only a shame that it takes such a tedious ride to get there.
Further, the Special Effects are pretty damned good, especially the aging and other Special Make-Up Effect, provided by Rick Baker. Walken is also universally hilarious (over the top and crazy, but really funny). And finally, whoa, NELLY, any film that features the Super-Hot Kate Beckinsale lounging around in half-shirts, boxers and tight little Pajama bottoms is okay with me! This actress could boil mercury.
The Ending is as predictable as snow during an Alaskan Winter! Yeah, it's fitfully touching, but it will also make the critical eye roll like a wagon wheel. That first little impression you get surrounding a "What If" toward the beginning? Yep, that's as True as Spandau Ballet!
I'm going to give Click the benefit of the doubt (in deference to the contributions of Rick Baker, and those that run even deeper from Kate Beckinsale) and give it Three Stars out of Five, in spite of the fact that in most ways this amounts to a big, fat two and a Half-er! Man, way to remake Bruce Almighty, guys... Very Original! You're remaking your own movie, did you think we wouldn't notice? You couldn't even wait for the sequel, Evan Almighty? How many times is this gonna work, man? Hell! When you take good actors like Beckinsale, Astin, Walken, Hoffman, Sandler, Winkler, Kavner and even Hasselhoff and put them into a tired and rehashed script that has almost as many original ideas as any given Fulci/ Sacchetti collaboration, you're sure to please the masses, just dying for the same, old prepackaged Styrofoam-wrapped, mass-produced Romantic Dramedy Fantasy... but you're sure to make the critics reach for their remotes. Hey, we've seen this before, kids... Time to Point... and Click...
|What's New?||Alphabetical Listing of Reviews!||SearchThisSite:||Advertise With Us!||About...||Lynx Links:||F*A*Q|