The Do-Over, 2016.
Directed by Steven Brill.
Starring Adam Sandler, David Spade, Paula Patton, Kathryn Hahn, Luis Guzman, Nick Swardson, Sean Astin, Matt Walsh, Catherine Bell and Michael Chiklis.
The life of a bank manager is turned upside down when a friend from his past manipulates him into faking his own death and taking off on an adventure.
As grossly repugnant as a failed bout of colonic irrigation, Adam Sandler’s latest paradise set circle jerk The Do-Over finds the literal one-time funny man scooping the very bowels of comedy to no effect. Sandler’s retreat into the bosom of Netflix maybe signals a sudden, if unremarkable awareness of the universal critical disdain of his last 15 years of cinematic output. Yet that would be to give Sandler credit where credit’s not due. Most likely, akin to some vague Kafka-esque, moustache-twirling villain, he saw an opportunity to peddle his bilious “comedy” without the concern of financial losses. All while laughing it up on some exotic island, stroking a cat, cackling as the wider public feed into what must surely be a practical joke, in which in decades to come, the rug will be pulled, to reveal a great piece of performance art. God forsake us all.
Whilst at his high school reunion, Charlie McMillan (David Spade) – a down-on-his-luck bank manager in the midst of a loveless, infidelity defined marriage-stumbles on Max (Adam Sandler) an “FBI agent” with the bright plan to fake their deaths in order to start again. With identities already stolen-Butch Ryder and Dr. Ronnie Fishman-they travel to Puerto Rico in order to open up a security deposit box which contains millions of dollars. They soon however discover that Butch and Ronnie were on the run. It’s the sort of bizarrely convoluted plot Sandler seems to be adept at attempting and failing with garish aplomb.
As a study in bashing women for the sake of bashing women, The Do-Over takes its place somewhere between Gamergate and simply screaming abuse at a stranger for having a vagina. It’s the sort of gross misogyny we’ve come to expect from Sandler and his cronies yet we’ve come to accept it as vaguely reasonable. Women are characterised more as blow-up sex dolls, all mouths agape and tits blown out of proportion, than genuinely recognisable as real people. Subtext is kept to an absolute minimum; David Spade beats a woman to a pulp as he screams about the opposite sex fucking him over and expects the audience to find sympathy amongst his literal woman bashing.
It’s masculinity at its most toxic. Women are either sex dolls or psychopaths, gay characters are portrayed as borderline mentally ill-a biker all but forces Sandler to suck his finger as he reaches climax, jokes of rectal torture don’t just litter, but swamp but the entire film-it’s gay panic at it’s most archaic.
Adding insult to injury, amidst the jokes of Luiz Guzman’s sweaty ball bag and poisonous homophobia, Sandler finds sentimentality. The audience is to accept character flaws, be it pathological lying, psychopathic outbursts and stunningly misogynistic ideals (“needing a nice dick to ride on” to cure grief) as a result of a baffling late twist. We’ve come to expect this from Sandler, yet this one in particular acts as increasingly harmful.
Now two pictures into his four-picture deal with Netflix, there seems to be little point in sign-posting this as a low-point in Sandler’s frankly inexplicably successful career. Most likely, we’ll be subject to a further mess of misogyny and gay panic in whatever lads-on-tour-circle-jerk he decides to conjure up out of what I can only presume is a draw filled with lads mags and Dapper Laughs fan letters.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★