I'm not ashamed to reveal that I used to be an Adam Sandler fan. The dude used to be legit funny. It may sound like madness today, but there was a time when I actually used to look forward to seeing a new Adam Sandler film.
Sure, he pretty much played the same character repeatedly, but he played it so well.
In those early films he presented himself as a tightly wound ball of schmaltz that was primed to explode with manic preschool rage at the merest hint of a slight.
This persona propelled him through a dream run of comedy hits; Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer and, of course, the bonafide comedy classic, The Waterboy.
But somewhere along the way it all went horribly wrong. Not only did he stop being funny, he also seemed to stop caring. His films became cynical, tired, borderline-unwatchable cash in's. His man-child anger becoming more hateful, toilet obsessed and misdirected as the years rolled on.
The perverse thing is the less he seemed to care, the more successful his films became. This unfunny, outwardly miserable guy is box office gold. Fool's gold perhaps, but gold nevertheless. So while we may not be laughing, Sandler is. All the way to the bank...
So let's examine Sandler's slippery slope using the power of an arbitrary Top 5 list and some YouTube links.
Little Nicky - 2000
Sporting an emo haircut and an appalling, brain damaged persona, this was the first major red flag of Sandler's career. Here he plays Nicky, the good natured but incredibly dim (sound familiar?) son of Satan, as he attempts to prove he's evil enough to run Hell after his old man retires. Describing this as a one gag film would be incorrect as there's not even one measly LOL to be found, as the link below proves. Though you will find the beginning of Sandler's lazy racist stereotyping, his love for lame characters with silly voices and the biggest regret of Harvey Keitel's career.
Grown Ups 2 - 2013
This film represents the pinnacle of Sandler's slacking off. The first one was an obvious and dismal excuse for Sandler and his boys Kevin James, Rob Schneider, David Space and Chris Rock to goof around and cash cheques. This offers more of the exact same thing.
It's half-heartedly fuelled by a lazy plot that loosely strings a series of unfunny sketches of Kevin James farting before calling it a day. It made $414 million.
I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry - 2007
What could be funnier than a movie about two straight guys who pretend to be homosexual for insurance purposes? Judging by this film, just about anything. Sandler and his ol' pal Kevin James are the happy pretend couple, arguing and bickering like an old married couple while sidling up to every homophobe gag going. And in case you're wondering, no, it wasn't Sandler being subversive with a hot button topic. He just finds homophobic cliche's funny.
Blended - 2014
After the astonishing success of Grown Ups 2 Sandler took another look through his filmography to see what other dead cows he had left to beat. And thus Drew Barrymore got the call.
To mix metaphors if I may, Barrymore's a cow Sandler's milked before. Their creative partnership stretches all the way back to 1998's very good 80s homage The Wedding Singer.
There's no real sizzling onscreen chemistry between the pair but as that film made a fair bit of moolah a reunion was obviously called for. The cheesy 50 First Dates happened in 2004 and then ten years later this did. Neither should have.
Jack & Jill - 2011
The only way to make an Adam Sandler film worse is to increase the amount of Adam Sandler it contains. Here he takes on both lead roles and the funny thing about this is that one of them is... wait for it... a girl! LOL.
There's two jokes in this film; one is that Sandler is wearing drag and the other revolves around bodily functions. Which is appropriate because this film is a turd. The real tragedy is that he dragged Al Pacino down with him. Hoo-ah indeed.