One really never knows what you’re going to get with an Adam Sandler flick. You could get lucky and end up with a modern classic like “The Wedding Singer” or make a nonrefundable withdrawal of two hours of your life suffering through “Mr. Deeds.” The new Sandler film “Click” is a pleasant surprise. It’s not an instant classic, but a mostly effective modern update on some old standards.
Sandler has come a long way since his early walk-ons on MTV’s game show “Remote Control.” He is certainly one of the most successful SNL alums of late, but Sandler is still hit or miss. “Click” is a perfect example of a script that could easily have been developed for someone like Tim Allen and been mostly forgettable, instead Sandler plays the everyman in his unique way and gives us that extra something that has made him an unlikely movie star.
Sandler plays Micheal Newman, an architect who struggles to strike a balance between work and family. Always sacrificing time at home for the possibility of advancement and better opportunities for his wife -played by Kate Beckinsale – and children, Micheal sets out late one evening in search of a universal remote control that will simplify his life. Enter the magical fantasy aspect of the film…and Christopher Walken. Walken plays Morty, a gadget guy hiding in a labyrinth of electronics and storage inside a Bed Bath and Beyond. Morty gives Micheal the latest model remote and sends him on his way with the disclaimer that the item is nonreturnable. Clicking ensues. Unable to get rid of the remote after it programs itself, Micheal rockets through his life, fast-forwarding away everything he held dear.
Many of the characters in “Click” go through significant aging to various effects. The recent technique of making actors look younger – Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen got this treatment in X3 – doesn’t work so well here. Sandler’s dad, played by Henry Winkler, looks more like an alien with sideburns than a youthful Fonzi in one childhood flashback. Sandler also goes through many transformations, gaining large amounts of weight and in the end looks remarkably like Al Pacino from Godfather III.
Directed by Frank Coraci (“The Wedding Singer”), “Click” has some erratic pacing issues, which aren’t helped by the story line jumping back and forth in time. There are a few lesser characters who disappear half way through and all told the film isn’t as well put together as it could have been. And while “Click�” has it’s share of cliché moments they are more than off set by an equal amount of clever remote control brainstorms and humor. It is the sentimentality of the movie that is its strength and in the end Sandler is the X-factor that keeps it all together.
Like Frank Darabont’s Capra-esque film “The Majestic,” “Click” will likely be skewered for being overtly sentimental – too sappy and full of heart for its own good. If “It’s A Wonderful Life” came out today it would likely be lampooned as candy-sweet crap, but movies like these have given us reason to pause and appreciate the life we have and question what we take for granted. “Click” places a 21st Century twist on it and manages to land soundly in the winners column of Sandler pictures.