Click review by Mike Long

Putting labels on things is not something that I enjoy doing, but I guess defining movies by genres is a necessary evil. That way, when a film defies genre conventions, we can easily identify it. Also, it allows us to discuss movies that mix genres. It can be challenging to create a successful film which attempts to combine two (or more) kinds of movie. Some, such as Peter Jackson (horror/comedy) or John Landis (action/comedy) are very good at it. However, there are some films, such as Click, where the challenge to merge genres results in something similar to mixing oil and water.

Adam Sandler stars in Click as Michael Newman, an overworked architect, husband, and father of two. Michael is constantly being pulled between his domineering boss, Mr. Ammer (David Hasselhoff), and his family-life -- wife, Donna (Kate Beckinsale) and kids, Ben (Jospeh Castanon) & Samantha (Tatum McCann). The pressure overwhelms Michael and he snaps when he can't deal with the pile of remote controls in his house. So, he visits Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and in the "Beyond" section, he meets an odd man named Morty (Christopher Walken), who gives him a very unusual universal remote control.

Michael soon learns that remote controls not only the TV, but real life as well. At first, Michael revels in muting the dog or pausing Ammer, but he then begins to use it to fast-forward through uncomfortable situations that he doesn't want to face, such as fighting with Donna. He also decides to breeze through projects for work. What Michael doesn't know is that the remote memorizes personal preferences and it soon begins to fast-forward through things whether Michael wants it to or not. Michael has no control as he finds himself jumping through time getting glimpses of the ups and downs of his life, but having no opportunity to experience them first-hand.

Sticking with our them of mixing genres, Click would be considered a dramedy, as it combines the fairly serious topic of a man who forsakes his family for work with some silly humor. Casual observers may be surprised to see the words "serious" and "Sandler" anywhere near each other, but the sentiments in Click are nothing new. All of Sandler's films, even going back to the wackiness of Billy Madison, have had a surprising amount of heart, and since 2002's Punch-Drunk Love (which wasn't made by Sandler's team) his efforts have been more and more serious. 2004's 50 Fist Dates was able to take an incredibly depressing plot (about a woman who can't form new memories) and bring out the comedic charm in story. But, unfortunately for Sandler, he can't do the same thing with Click.

Instead of feeling like a combination of genres, Click often feels like watching two movies at once. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Sandler's comedies (Billy Madison is a movie which I quote far too often.), but the humor here is simply feels out of place. From a dog humping a stuffed duck to the torment of the kids next door to farting in someone's face, the jokes simply don't work. Sure, we expect crude and mean-spirited jokes from Sandler, but they don't gel with the rest of the film. The main premise in Click is very serious and the film is quite sad at times. Instead of simply being "light moments", the "jokes" give the impression of Sandler fighting to maintain his childlike personality in a more mature role. The mixture of serious and funny worked in 50 First Dates partially due to the fact that the film was set in Hawaii and at the outset the movie introduced the idea that things are a bit different there. Thus, the Sandler's oddities felt more organic. Everything feels forced, and thus not funny, in Click.

As for the film's primary focus, Michael obsession with success, the movie is far too heavy-handed in this regard. The message that Michael is making a mistaking by fast-forwarding through his life is fairly easy to grasp, but the movie continues to beat us over the head with images of Michael missing out on the good times.

The failure of Click could easily be blamed on director Frank Coraci or the screenplay, but the most obvious detriment to the film is Sandler himself. Simply put, he is miscast here. Or rather, his attempts to jump between the worlds of drama and comedy don't work here. As a familiar actor, it's difficult enough to buy Sandler as the stressed-out career-man/husband/father, but he does a fairly good job playing the dower Michael Newman. But, when he cuts loose with the remote, the personality change is simply too much for the audience to take, as he suddenly morphs into Adam Sandler. It reminded me a great deal of Robin Williams' performance in the recent RV, where an uptight man would miraculously become a comedian.

I certainly can’t fault Sandler & Co. for taking a stab at a “dramedy”, but Click is too disjointed for its own good. The story becomes very dark and depressing at times, thus making the oddball humor even more awkward. I’m still a Sandler fan, and I’d love to see him drop the “mature” movement and go back to bizarre comedies.

Click falls between the sofa cushions onto DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The movie was shot on HD Video, but I’m unsure is this transfer was taken from the HD source or a film source. Either way, the transfer looks pretty good, as the image is sharp and clear, showing only a slight amount of grain and no defects from the source material. The picture has a nice amount of depth, and this is especially noticeable during the effects shots. The colors look fine, most notably the strong blues in the film. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. This track delivers clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are fine, but the surround and subwoofer tracks really kick in during the fast-forwarding segments and sound particularly good.

The Click DVD features an odd assortment of extras. We start with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Sandler, director Frank Coraci, co-writer Steve Koren, and executive producer Tim Herlihy. Given that it’s Sandler and two of his oldest friends (I’m not sure of his relationship with Koren), this is a very loose and funny track. Coraci attempts to give specifics on the making of the film, and Sandler makes jokes and points out the scenes in which he actually fell asleep. The DVD features 4 DELETED SCENES which run about 3 minutes. There’s some humorous stuff and we see that Rob Schneider’s “You can do it!” line got cut from the film. The remainder of the extra are short and somewhat sparse featurettes. “Make Me Old and Fat” (7 minutes) focuses on the use and creation of fat-suits in the film and features comments from FX guru Rick Baker. The CGI and practical special effects are examined in “FX of Click“ (5 minutes). Production designer Perry Andelin Blake talks about the look of the film in “Design my Universe” (5 minutes). We get a behind-the-scenes look at the slick automobiles in the film in “Cars of the Future” (3 minutes). We learn how they got the dogs to hump the duck in “Humping Dogs” (1 minute). The actors talk about the work of Frank Coraci in “Director’s Take” (4 minutes). And finally, we get random shots of Sandler goofing around in the his fat-suit in “Fine Cookin’” (3 minutes). All of these featurettes are short and to the point (unlike many others that I’ve watched lately), but they seem very fluffy for a movie which grossed well over $100 million.

4 out of 10 Jackasses

blog comments powered by Disqus