Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled Click

Charlie Kaufman could have made a great movie out of Click, a soupy existential comedy about a "universal remote" that lets a man magically rewind, fast-forward, and pause his life. Any one of those features would make for an interesting movie: "Rewind" could be Kaufman's Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, about cherishing memories and experiences, even the bad ones. "Fast-forward" is basically A Christmas Carol, which ends with the Ghost Of Christmas Future making Scrooge take stock of the present. And "Pause" would make a heck of a voyeuristic Brian De Palma or Paul Verhoeven film. But this being an Adam Sandler vehicle, the premise is turned into yet another story about a man-child learning to overcome his arrested adolescence, which means that Sandler keeps his thumb glued to the "fast-forward" button. Unless he wants to fart in his boss' face or kick some poor schlub in the balls. Then it's pause time.

Is there a more overplayed modern type than the workaholic dad with no time for his family? Sandler plays another one, a go-getter architect whose career takes precedence over his loveable children and wife-of-the-century Kate Beckinsale. Unable to figure out which of his dozen remotes operates the TV set, Sandler goes on a late-night search for a universal remote and gets more than he bargained for when mad-scientist type Christopher Walken gives him a magical time-warping gadget. Suddenly, Sandler no longer has to sit through traffic, argue with his wife, or labor over blueprints; instead, he can just skip the boring stuff and cut straight to the moment when his unctuous boss (David Hasselhoff) finally gives him the brass ring.

Of course, all that boring stuff is apparently what life is all about, so best not let it pass by without enduring every precious, mundane second. For a Sandler comedy, Click explores a remarkably small percentage of its premise for laughs. Outside of a running joke about Sandler's dog humping a giant stuffed animal and the usual anger/pain humor that runs through his work, the film devotes most of its energy to a drearily sentimental lesson about what's really important. It's as if Sandler and house director Frank Coraci (The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy) want to graft the grown-up sensibilities behind Spanglish and Punch-Drunk Love to the crude frat-house gags that have long been their stock in trade. The hybrid isn't mature or funny.