Adam Sandler was once a respectable actor; I know it’s hard to remember that, but way back in the 90s, he was actually considered funny. Then he started to coast a little. Then a lot. His career has been in a state of free-fall in regards to critical reception for years, but somehow he still manages to get work, and he doesn’t seem to care about his reviews. In fact, if you really look at it, a lot of his more recent movies look like an excuse to draw a paycheck while going on a really expensive vacation with his friends which, coincidentally he doesn’t have to pay for. He even admitted as much when he was on Jimmy Kimmel. So we decided to pay tribute to Hollywood's favorite con man by listing the best examples of movies where we paid to see Sandler slack off with his best friends.
So much has been said about how creepy 50 First Dates is if you really think about it. But I’m going to be focusing on something else… mostly the fact that once again, Adam Sandler is playing a highly educated man who still acts like a braying man child. At least in Billy Madison or Happy Gilmore it made sense, but we’re pretty much expected to believe that a woman with chronic amnesia would fall for this man. Also, let’s just put out there that rather than set this movie anywhere more conventional, Sandler got to spend his time shooting this movie in Hawaii. Because of course his veterinarian lover boy character lives in Hawaii. It’s totally not an excuse for a paid vacation.
You’d think most of these movies could be filmed pretty much anywhere. There isn’t a lot of call for them to be in known vacation spots, but Blended is shot in South Africa. Why? Because Sandler wanted to make a movie somewhere he could go on vacation. He literally admitted this on an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. Go look it up if you don’t believe me. I’m not saying we should expect every movie to be pure art, but I expect more from something I’m expected to pay to see than one hundred and seventeen minutes of someone else’s vacation footage spliced together with a tenuous plot that hinges on this same scheming douchebag also getting to make out with an attractive actress of his choice. He has enough money that he could take a sightseeing trip on his own dime.
Jack and Jill wasn’t so much a movie as an attempt at product placement disguised as a movie. This time Sandler plays an advertising executive, and you couldn’t ask for a more perfect way to cram as many products into your movie as humanly possible. Of course, they do that anyway without any character driven help. Look at the Carnival Cruise scene. On second thought, don’t. That’s literally what Sandler wants you to do because it’s a giant commercial. So once again, Sandler has managed to get himself a free vacation, this time a fancy cruise that he expects us to pay for by watching his movie but this time he’s pumped the movie full of endorsement deals. I think I liked it better when he just wanted us to watch his vacation footage.
Okay, Bedtime Stories may actually be one of the least egregious offenders on this list. It starts off set in a small motel which is kind of a departure from the destination vacation style setup of so many other movies on this list. Of course, things rapidly expand, and suddenly we find Sandler shooting at Castello di Amorosa, a castle built on picturesque wine country and of course, strolling along the beach with a lovely female lead. Again. Honestly, this is probably the movie I would most accept this kind of thing from since the very point of the movie is fantastical locations spurred by children’s bedtime stories. The thing is, it’s part of an established pattern. Just because it’s on the light end of the scale doesn’t mean it’s not part of the same obnoxious trend.
Is there any movie this man makes that isn’t secretly him trying to needlessly bankroll his next trip to the beach? I guess Sandler grew tired of Hawaii and South Africa because You Don't Mess with the Zohan was set in Carbo San Lucas, Mexico for those oh-so-necessary beach scenes that just keep showing up because they’re so integral to the plot his movies, New York, New York, and Tel Aviv, Israel because at this point, I assume Sandler just wants to visit every part of the globe at least once in his life. They couldn’t film the beach scenes that were supposed to take place in Israel in Israel. They had to go to Mexico for that. At this point, I’m just willing to assume that anything Sandler writes or produces isn’t so much a script as it is a trip itinerary with an attempt at slapstick humor thrown in.
It’s really sad when you’re impressed that one of Sander’s movies doesn’t have a beach in it. Somehow, they got him to settle for a lakefront cottage in Essex and a trip to the water park. Grown Ups doesn’t really have much in the way of plot or really anything to carry it. Which is sad because this movie has a list of people who, at least on paper, are comic stars. Instead all you can do when you watch it is realize that this is nothing more than a paycheck and an all-expense paid trip to a summer home in a Massachusetts town known almost exclusively for its seafood and tourism. So maybe it’s not a walk on the beaches of Hawaii, but it’s still a blatant excuse to stop over at a tourist destination.
What’s worse than using the movie industry to finance your vacation to a New England tourist town while giving nothing back but a shoddy poorly executed excuse for a movie panned by almost every critic who saw it? Doing it again. Not even as a new movie in the string of terrible movies he’s produced, but as a direct sequel. Grown Ups 2 was set once again in a tourist-friendly part of Massachusetts featuring all of Sandler’s friends and the bare minimum of writing and directing needed to be considered a film and not a steaming pile of amateur footage. Sandler uses nothing but fart jokes, fat jokes, and his trademarked obnoxiously loud voice to carry this movie to the bank over the shrieking objections of critics everywhere.
I’m beginning to think that maybe Sandler likes Massachusetts just as much as he likes Hawaii because once again, Sandler sets one of his films in The Bay State. This time though he’s decided to take in Cape Cod. And just like every other movie on this list, there is nothing redeemable about That's My Boy and Sandler continues his career-long role as an embarrassingly immature man-child in a movie barely disguised as a cash grab by cheap, offensively terrible humor. This movie was so bad that it was nominated for eighteen Raspberry awards. The thing is, I don’t think Sandler cares. Even though this movie lost money at the box office, he still got paid, and as far as I can tell, that’s all that really matters.
We’ve gone through several other movies that are a sad excuse for a paycheck or a vacation in disguise. Or usually both. Sandler has fallen and hard; while this is Netflix movie rather than an actual theatrical release, he’s still somehow making money off his absolute disdain for his own audience. And again, somehow he manages to get a location shoot, this time in Savannah, Georgia. It was named one of America’s favorite cities by Travel + Leisure, and its own nickname for itself is “Hostess City of the South.”
Just Go With It wasn’t so much a title as it was a request to the audience to ignore everything wrong with this movie. I think the worst part of this was it was based on a successful, critically acclaimed film called The Cactus Flower. Sandler took a good movie and managed to completely wreck it as an excuse to flirt with as many actresses as possible and spend as much time at the beach as he could while pretending to be a plastic surgeon who still acts like an idiot man child. This is in stark contrast to The Cactus Flower that took place in part in a set of a dentist’s office and features an attempted suicide. Oh, and just to come full circle, we’re back in Hawaii again.