Film Review – Sandy Wexler (2017)
Adam Sandler’s last few films have been pretty unwatchable to say the least. From Jack and Jill to The Ridiculous 6, Sandler appears to be in a rut of which he may never get out. That being said, his third Netflix release, Sandy Wexler, has become available for streaming. Is it as bad as his previous films or is there a glimmer of artistic ability prevalent? The follwing Sandy Wexler review will be spoiler free.
Sandy Wexler is directed by Steven Brill and stars the previously mentioned Adam Sandler alongside Jennifer Hudson and a litany of Sandler’s friends (i.e. Kevin James, Rob Schneider, etc.). The year is 1994 and Sandy Wexler is a struggling, eccentric talent manager who always has an eye out for new talent. Although his current talent pool is less than ideal, that doesn’t stop Sandy from working hard. However, one day he stumbles upon a singer named Courtney Clarke (Jennifer Hudson) that he immediately takes her under his wing. Their relationship together starts out really well, but, eventually, the price of fame gets in the way.
The leading sentiment around Adam Sandler is the following: “His last few films have been pretty awful, BUT his first few films were really good!”
Many people have grown numb to Sandler’s shenanigans over the years, but there’s still a soft spot for many of his older screwball comedies. You’d be lying if you didn’t have somewhat of a fondness for films like The Wedding Singer, Billy Madison, and Happy Gilmore.
That being said, his recent films haven’t been just bad, they’ve bordered on atrocities for the most part. I’m okay with films trying to be ambitious and falling flat on their face (at least they made an effort to be different), but these films have been just lazy. They all feel incredibly cheap and contain all of Sandler’s friends sleepwalking through another performance.
But could Sand Wexler be any different?
What I Liked
Surprisingly, Sandy Wexler doesn’t feel like a lazy ploy for Adam Sandler and his friends to receive another inflated paycheck. Sure, all the typical Sandler movie characters are noticeable, but it feels like there was a genuine attempt to make a film here. Unlike Jack and Jill and other atrocities, there is an actual plot with stakes and consequences. While there are obvious attempts at throwing in product placement, it isn’t as in your face as previous Sandler flicks.
Moreover, there are glimmers of actual heart and feeling in Sandy Wexler. Each Adam Sandler movie has some type of forced sentimentality thrown into the film (and there’s certainly a lot of that in this film). However, along with that schmaltz is some nice attempts at tugging at you heartstrings that sometimes work in the most bizarre of ways.
Practically everything we’ve come to loathe from Sandler films is lessened, which we can all get behind.
As a note, while Jennifer Hudson may not be the best actress, she has a lovely voice that coalesces into some very catchy songs that are played throughout the film.
What I Didn’t Like
However, making a movie that’s “not horrendous” doesn’t mean its good either.
Sandy Wexler was pegged by Netflix as a screwball comedy. However, there weren’t enough laughs generated to warrant that distinction. Sandler has a few moments where he shows glimpses of his inner Bobby Boucher and Happy Gilmore that he hid deep within him. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to overcome his really annoying voice and the hollow characters that populate this movie.
Sandler does his typical shtick where he has a weird voice that he employs, but really doesn’t work…at all. From the first line he utters, I knew I was in for a long night.
What I Didn’t Like…Continued
Speaking of long, Sandy Wexler clocks in at about two hours and ten minutes. This is a pretty reasonable length film for a number of stories, but Sandy Wexler is not one of them. An Adam Sandler movie should be a maximum of an hour and forty-five minutes, and even that’s pushing it. There’s so much fluff and unnecessary elements to this film that really makes the film drag almost to a halt. There are extended scenes that are meant to set up for a big laugh, but the film isn’t funny enough for their to be much of a payoff. There are easily thirty minutes that could have been removed from this film with little to no consequence to the story.
Moreover on this point, the film employs a documentary style to tell its story. Typically, I’d have no problem with this storytelling device, but the issue with Sandy Wexler is that this adds absolutely nothing to the narrative except pad the run time. When a film utilizes this style, it’s because the character is no longer alive or has some other issue that keeps them from being present in that point in time. But, in this case, it’s more of a plot to get more of Sandler’s friends into the movie.
Just when I thought Sandy Wexler was going to be different from the usual Adam Sandler movie, it swerves right back around to give one the most annoying endings of the year. The implausibility of the union that occurs absolutely baffled me. It’s unrealistic, hackneyed, and downright infuriating.
Sandy Wexler isn’t an abomination a la Jack and Jill, but that’s not saying much. There’s some genuine heart and care put into this film, but it still feels like a vehicle for Sandler to just hangout with his friends for a few hours. It gets a D+. There are glimmers of Sandler getting out of his current hole he’s dug for himself, but he still has a long way to go.
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