I realise that my introduction there contained some mild spoilers but to be fair, who cares? The plot? Well it’s got an opening about as telling of the quality of the film as the mere presence of Adam Sandler. It starts with a 12 year old boy called Donnie Berger getting seduced by his ‘hot’ teacher Mrs McGarricle. Cut to sex noises in an assembly, the curtains behind the stage parting and then what it tantamount to a sex scene depicting child abuse. No matter how ‘cool’ the film thinks having sex with your attractive teacher is, a 30 year old having sex with a 12 year old is child abuse. The stuff of comedy gold then. In the annals of comedy history I’m guessing child abuse goes down about as well as the holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda, the September the 11th attacks and Micky Flanagan.
It doesn’t end there though, that’s only the beginning. During the teacher’s trial (for child molestation let’s not forget) it is revealed that she is pregnant. Cut forward 30 years and after a lucrative career as a child star Donnie (now played by Sandler *sigh*) has fallen on hard times and essentially needs to reconnect with his estranged hedge fund manager son (played by Samberg) to get the money he needs to avoid prison for tax evasion. This, on the weekend before his wedding to fiancée Jamie (Leighton Meester). What is nominally called a film then ensues.
While I sat there waiting for it to end, for it all to end, I was treated to about 50 climactic points each of which would have tied to film up in dubious (but also mercifully quicker) fashion. What I wasn’t expecting is the spoilerific thing I’m about to write (since none of you are going to watch this anyway). Avert your poor eyes now if you plan on watching this film with any sort of emotional investment at some point. His fiancée is having sex with her brother. << That, if you hadn’t noticed is a full stop written with caps lock on.
Here’s another spoiler. Adam Sandler is really bad in this. Really bad. Another shocker – Andy Samberg is worse. How? Well, I wasn’t sure it was physically, mentally, objectively, subjectively, interpretably possible, but it turns out that having an acting range that spans the twins peaks of gangsta rap parody (angry face and arms) and the music video for Jizz In My Pants (comedy? face) just doesn’t get the job done. I’m a fan of The Lonely Island. Maybe, if his only aim in life is to satisfy me, he should just stick to that. Otherwise he’s free to pursue a very lucrative Hollywood career at his disgression… Just hopefully not in front of my eyes.
As for the rest of the film, welcome to ‘Life Lessons’ with your host, the venerable Mr Adam Sandler:
- A 13 year old boy having sex with his teacher is the coolest thing ever.
- The is no role that isn’t made more jaw breakingly hilarious by Adam Sandler putting a slightly weird voice on.
- Incest is horrible. Funny. But also horrible.
- Illegal immigrants should do whatever you tell them to because they are lucky to be in America.
- That this is actually a horrible attitude to take. Even so, making them speak Chinglish and pull funny faces is great fun.
- Giving your child a full back tattoo at the age of 10 may seem cruel but is actually funny.
How does crap like this keep getting made? When the excellent Dredd cost $45 million how can this film firstly get made at all, secondly get a budget of $70 million and thirdly, how the hell did they manage to spend $70 million? Turns out the budget (as is Sandler’s sway in Hollywood) is as bloated and obnoxious as him.
The screening was not without laughter though. But under no context was it at all warranted. It’s a commonly held and perfectly reasonable belief that all art (including comedy) is subjective, but in this case I’m willing to make an exception. Not only could I not understand why these people laughed. They shouldn’t have laughed. The idiots.
God, I need to calm down. Maybe some comic-book inflected ultra-violence, decapitation, skinning and disembowelment, all delivered with artistic nouse and integrity will set me straight. Back to Dredd it is then.