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C'mon Hollywood: What happened to Adam Sandler?

06.19.2012

Adam Sandler has been a household name for decades, appearing in more than twenty-five feature films, five years of SNL, and producing five comedy albums, all of which make up an exceptionally lucrative career. And yet, even with all of that, people can’t stop hating on him. So, the question is, did Sandler’s work grow old and tired or did we grow old and tired of Adam Sandler?

As a teenager I was aware of Sandler’s work on SNL and had listened to his early comedy albums regularly. Then came the one-two punch of BILLY MADISON and HAPPY GILMORE, which firmly established Sandler as one of the few SNL alumni who could carry a film on their own, while staying true to his style of comedy.

Yep, there was a time that I thought Adam Sandler was hilarious. He beat the shit out of Bob Barker, set bags of poop on fire, hallucinated giant penguins and killed Carl Weathers. There was plenty of idiocy to laugh at and I was ready for more. The WEDDING SINGER and THE WATERBOY propelled him to superstardom and the rest was history.

Then, something happened. His fanbase started to get older and his brand started to show some wear and tear. LITTLE NICKY, his high-concept son of satan pic, started a downward trajectory for Sandler, which was accompanied by a slow an steady wane to his material. In short, it started to get old, real fast. From that point on, Sandler struggled to recapture his once loyal base.

This past weekend, Sandler’s first R-rated comedy, THAT'S MY BOY, opened at $13 MIL, which is about $20 million short of his typical take for opening a comedy and doesn’t bode well for Sandler clearing his typical $100 MIL for such a film. Is this a sign of audiences saying they’ve had enough?


It’s all a bit confusing to me, because as much as I hear how much people hate and loathe Sandler, he continues to make massive amounts of money and churns out a new film (or two) every year (maybe that’s the problem…). Is it a case of people hating Sandler in public and loving him in private? Or do we just chalk it up to “the average moviegoer (which is kind of a cop out if you ask me)? Speaking for myself, his movies just don’t generate the same appeal that they did when I was eighteen years old. I have put each of his comedies since THE LONGEST YARD in my Netflix Queue and rarely make it past the first 15 minutes as they’re so asinine that I can barely take it. And I LOVE comedies, damnit!

I can’t help but wonder if it’s me or if it’s Sandler that’s really changed. His detours into the dramatic (SPANGLISH, PUNCHDRUNK LOVE, REIGN OVER ME), are much more tolerable than his current comedies. I think that FUNNY PEOPLE is grossly underrated, albeit not a great film. But, as soon as you start throwing in his usual comedic antics I immediately tune out. So, what gives?

When you compare something like JUST GO WITH IT to BILLY MADISON are they really that different or are we, as the saying goes, “too old for that shit?” Is it possible that the audience torch was passed to the next generation? Or is it possible that Sandler’s comedic blend simply doesn’t work with grown up themes? If you look at the topics he’s dealt with since THE WATERBOY, he’s tackled adoption, anger management, prison, memory-loss, prison, gay marriage, and even the Isreali-Palistine conflict, all of which are a far cry from a grown man repeating grade school and a hockey player turned golfer. GROWN-UPS was the most simplistic of his modern day comedies and it earned him the most grosses since BIG DADDY.

Then again, THAT’S MY BOY isn’t exactly controversial in theme and hardly anyone showed up. There’s no doubt that Sandler’s comedic stylings are chock full of idiotic and immature content that mostly revolves around physical moments of punching, hitting, and falling down; basically the same kind of antics you find most hilarious just after your balls drop. It’s not to say that you lose your sense of humor as you get older, but you typically develop a need for something a little more clever than burning poop.

I think that the audience has become the old man on the porch in BILLY MADISON, stomping the bag of burning shit, while a bunch of asshole kids laugh at us from the bushes. And with that group of kids is Adam Sandler, still with the same pranks, like a comedian Peter Pan, running with a new crew of fans, as we scrape the shit off our boots. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if that’s funny or not.

Of course, the greater mystery, is how Sandler manages to get the hottest women in Hollywood to appear in his films...

Extra Tidbit: What would it take to get Sandler back in your good graces?
Source: JoBlo.com

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