What Happened to You, Adam Sandler?

I say this with the most respectable way I can think of: Adam Sandler sucks!

Okay, that didn’t sound at all respectful but I really do hope he can snap out of this weird decade-and-a-half long slump he’s in. The man’s movies have taken a beating critically in recent years. Adam Sandler’s latest film, Pixels, has been panned by critics as well as audiences. The movie will probably make it’s $80 million budget back since general audiences still love his shtick and will still go an watch his films.

Even if his movies still make bank, t’s not like Sony, the movie studio behind the film has a lot of confidence in Adam Sandler. This is not conjecture: When Sony was hacked late last year, a lot of the studio exec’s emails were released. Some of those emails specifically questioned how they benefit from their current deal with Happy Madison Productions, Adam Sandler’s production company.

I do agree with Sony as well as the critics, Adam Sandler’s more recent movies do suck. But I’m still rooting for the guy since I grew up watching and loving his movies! I thoroughly enjoyed Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer. I’ll even admit that I was entertained by Little Nicky. Yes, I’m going on the record in saying that I had fun watching Little Nicky, even if I know it’s supposed to be an awful film. I’m not ashamed to say I enjoyed it almost as much as the films he produced before it.

There was just something about his first films that just touched me. Adam Sandler’s early films were very endearing and made me a fan. And, apparently, I’m not the only one. There are millions of people that became fans of the man because of the aforementioned Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer.

But now? I haven’t gone to see a Happy Madison produced film starring Adam Sandler since Click way back in 2006. That’s almost 10 years ago! I totally skipped You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, Bedtime Stories and Grown Ups 1 and 2. Not because I forgot or didn’t make time to watch them. No, it’s because I actively avoided those films because they didn’t look good at all!

So, what happened? I think it all boils down to his formula. Some may say his formula hasn’t change; they’d be wrong! The old Adam Sandler formula that was established during the mid-90s is much different from the one he’s currently using. Yes, he still has the crazy characterization and silly pratfalls and mean jokes. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is the character Adam Sandler plays as well as the somewhat surrealistic feel his older film have.

For the characterization, let’s go look at his first feature film he wrote and produced, Billy Madison. Adam Sandler plays the titular character. Billy Madison is a 27-year old slacker who just so happens to be the heir of a huge company. However, his father decides not to hand over the company to him and, instead, hand over the reins to a conniving business associate. Billy then makes a deal with his father that, if he manages to complete all 12 grades and graduate high school within a limited span of time, he’ll get the company.

The character of Billy Madison, like the other characters in his early movies, were all idiots. They started out as really despicable people that you didn’t like. But, as you continue to watch the film, you actually see the character grow as a person. They start becoming more responsible and actually learn something! There’s actually some character development! In his later films, like Click, Adam Sandler’s character is an everyman who’s already a decent but flawed person. There’s a big difference from being a truly awful human being (the early films) and just being a flawed individual (later films)!

Additionally, there’s a strange amount of surrealism in his older films that the newer ones doesn’t have. Okay, in Click, he does get a remote control that can control time and space and, in Pixels, video game characters attack the Earth. Even so, they are still bound by the realm of realism. But his early movies take a step over the line. I mean, the entire plot of Billy Madison is pretty much crazy and would never happen in real life! Also, they break into a song number for no apparent reason! And it’s not a musical! How’s that for surrealic!

Do I think Adam Sandler still has a good movie in him? Before I did, but now, not so much. He’s much older and I don’t think he has the mind of a juvenile anymore, which is precisely how he managed to envision and write the crazier films he had during his younger days. I still hope he can tap into that part of him again and make another film like Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore and the like. I’m still rooting for ya, Adam Sandler.

As Rob Schneider’s character said in The Waterboy…

What do you think of Adam Sandler’s movies as of late? How about his earlier films? Let me know what they are in the comments section below!

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