The result of Adam Sandler asking, “What if I could wear that remote control from Click on my feet?”, The Cobbler finds the first-draft dreamer taking his latest movie vacation in the most magical place of all: other people’s shoes. Sandler plays a shoe repairman who discovers he has the fantastical ability to step inside the lives of whomever’s loafers he slips into, giving him the opportunity to walk a mile in their, etc. etc., and—in at least one instance—have sex with their girlfriend. Although, it should be noted that Sandler stops this would-be shower escapade at the last moment. (Though it’s unclear whether his lamentation of “I can’t do this” is because he’s tripped over the shoes on his feet, or the ones on his heart).
After all, this is the sweet, sad-sack version of Sandler—not the angry ball-sack one—with director Thomas McCarthy casting him as just the latest in a line of lonely, mild-mannered doormats from movies like The Station Agent, The Visitor, and Win Win. And yet, this trailer is still strangely heavy on Sandlerian zaniness, with transvestite and taser gags, plus a mob subplot involving Method Man, all mashing into mawkish glurge about Sandler’s elderly mother—including Sandler trying on his absentee dad’s shoes for an uncomfortably Oedipal dinner date. There’s also his reunion with said father, played by Dustin Hoffman, who pops up to spout profundities like, “It’s a privilege to walk in another man’s shoes, but it’s also a responsibility.” Wow, I never thought of it that way, mostly because it makes absolutely no sense.
All told, it suggests a tonal mess that’s like taking a sedate pair of wingtips and putting clown squeakers in the heels. Now, who wants to see Adam Sandler try them on?