The first offering in Adam Sandler’s four-picture deal with Netflix was a steaming pile of shit. I had thought about trying to be more eloquent with my phrasing, but at the end of the day when you step in a steaming pile of shit there’s no way to dress that up as anything other than what it is. Somehow, The Ridiculous Six managed to become one of Netflix’s most streamed movies when it was released last year but to call it a creative success would be grossly inaccurate. So, does Sandler’s second Netflix movie offer an improvement? No, not really.
Sandler plays his usual man-child routine as Max, an underachiever who drops by his high-school reunion and reconnects with childhood chum (and a human doormat) Charlie (David Spade). Despite lofty ambitions of what their lives would become, Charlie has remained in the same job for over 25 years, and his marriage is a sham. After some brief banter, Max throws up the idea of faking their deaths to start a new, and before you can say Happy Gilmore, that’s exactly what happens. Anyhoo, the duo go on the run then there’s some guff about a formula that cures cancer and the sight of Luis Guzmán’s scrotum dangling in Spade’s face. This scene manages to be simultaneously the movie’s low-point and comedic highlight of the whole sorry affair.
The supporting cast get saddled with a series thankless roles, the brilliant Kathryn Hahn brings the only laughs as the cliched ‘crazy ex-girlfriend’, Paula Patton is given almost nothing to do, and there’s a brief cameo from a bewildered Sean Astin. I know what you’re thinking, being disappointed by an Adam Sandler movie is like saying eating a burger you found in a bin didn’t taste all that yummy.
I might have cheekily enjoyed some of Adam Sandler’s earlier work, Big Daddy, The Wedding Singer, Mr. Deeds and his surprisingly brilliant performance in Punch Drunk Love still serves as a sobering reminder that he is capable of more. That said, in recent years Sandler has treated his career with very little respect and his output has become sinfully lazy. Even reuniting with the adorable Drew Barrymore for a third time for comedy by numbers Blended couldn’t score a home run. I foolishly believed that Sandler had turned a corner after his performance in Funny People (playing a jaded actor who has lost his edge having grown tired of being typecast in man-child roles in dumb comedies), regrettably that wasn’t the case as he seems perfectly content to churn out charm free comedies.
Had The Do Over been a movie produced with the intention of being released in cinemas, the cut that Netflix signed off on would have been deemed unfinished and extensive reshoots would have been ordered. You have to hand it to Netflix for their policy to give its creators more freedom over what they’re making than the tradition TV and movie studio system. A risky approach, but it is one that has seen some truly phenomenal work, and the flip side is that some of their original content is shockingly bad. House of Cards this isn’t.
Ultimately, The Do Over is dated, shockingly unfunny and even at 105 minutes, it feels horrifically overlong. I had hoped that Sandler would return to the affable type of characters he used to play, but even that seems like too much effort for him as his latest movie is one of the laziest things he has ever made. I say that as a man who paid money to see You Don’t Mess With The Zohan at the cinema.