Sunday, April 23, 2017

Review: Is Adam Sandler's "Sandy Wexler" the light at the end of the tunnel?

Sandy Wexler Review

For better or for worse, Adam Sandler has created a legacy with will be everlasting.

It's tough to look back at Sandler's glory days and wince at what he's become. I guess its nice that he's still working, still trying to create some sort of redemption for himself. Its not like he just disappeared up his own ass like somebody else I could name. (I'm looking at you, Eddie Murphy) If I was his manager, I would have asked him to be solely a voice actor, because he would have been one of the all-time greats. But Sandler continues to make live-action movies, to very little avail. His four movie Netflix deal seemed like a lucrative and ambitious opportunity, to do things perhaps the Hollywood execs would not want him to do. Sadly, so far, its just given him permission to do what he always does. Just make stupid movies that are more about him goofing off with all of his best friends instead of making genuine comedy. Netflix recently added four more movies to Sandler's contract, to the applause of nobody.

I thought "The Ridiculous Six" had the opportunity to be a special spoof movie, and while I think some of it works, I don't think it adds up to a satisfying whole. "The Do Over" was typical Sandler though. Weak, forgettable and inept. Now comes "Sandy Wexler." On paper, "Sandy Wexler" looks to be another typical Sandler film. Yet another opportunity for Sandler to create an annoying voice and tack it on an annoying character, while his best buddies act all around him. For the most part, that is what "Sandy Wexler" is, and for the other part, its something a tad more. It's been a while since I felt I could wholeheartedly recommend an Adam Sandler movie, I can barely believe I am typing this, but everyone should check out "Sandy Wexler."

Adam Sandler plays the title character, a talent agent in Los Angeles who was big in the 1990's. Wexler's business style put loyalty and friendship above the business aspects of talent management, which has brought him not a whole lot of money, but he still has passion for his work. One day, he hears a woman named Courtney Clarke singing (Jennifer Hudson) and he immediately wants to make her a star. As they work together,they begin to fall in love. It's got a Woody Allen's "Broadway Danny Rose" mixed with "La La Land" vibe to it.

That's just part of the story though, the rest of the movie is Sandy meeting with his various other talent as he mentors and coaches them. Kevin James, Terry Crews, Nick Swardson all show up during these segments. There are some fun moments, but the movie is nearly two-and-a-half hours. That's incredibly long for an Adam Sandler movie. Sadly, with meeting with his talent and the Courtney love story, not much happens in this movie and I think it would have benefited from some more editing.

But "Sandy Wexler" does work. What works about it? Well, Sandler is able to create a voice that doesn't make you want to commit suicide after a half-hour, which is pretty impressive given the film's run-time. The romance between Hudson and Sandler works FOR the movie, not against it. Hudson and Sandler actually create an emotional, resonating romance and they both do solid work in this film. I was shocked to say that some moments in this film actually made me laugh. I can't remember when I honestly laughed hard at a Sandler movie. Other parts simply made me smile, its not an obnoxiously funny movie like Sandler used to be, but its a good start for being comatose for so long.

I sat watching this, waiting for something to make me mad, waiting for something to make my eyes roll, something to make me hate this movie. I was ready to shred this movie today. I was ready to piss and groan at four more Netflix movies. But I am not. If Sandler's next five movies are more like this and less like "The Do Over," he just might earn some merit back from his fans. Hey, M Night Shyamalan did it. So can Sandler.


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