Pass the sick bucket as Adam Sandler returns, farting and grimacing in this charmless and talentless rip-off of the great It’s A Wonderful Life.

Michael Newman (Adam Sandler) is an over-worked architect who is spending too much time at the office with his monster of a boss (David Hasselhoff) and not enough with his family. A spooky salesman called Morty (Christopher Walken) gives him a “Universal Remote” which lets him fast forward through boring dinner parties, traffic jams, family rows and, unforgivably, foreplay with his lovely wife (Kate Beckinsale). Inevitably things go wrong for Michael and for the film as the action sinks helplessly into a sticky sentimentality that no amount of farting can save.

They say:

Rolling Stone: “I have a soft spot for the low-comic high jinks of Adam Sandler but he has a sappy side that makes me puke. I damn near choked on Click.”

Daily Mirror: “Sandler’s trademark brand of over-the-top goofiness is starting to wear very, very thin. Really there are only so many fart jokes a person can take.”

We say:

Reasons to see this film:

1) You’re an obsessive Christopher Walken fan and want to see everything this brilliant actor does – even the worst film of his career.
2) You’re an obsessive Happy Days fan and you just love Henry Winkler as the Fonz and can’t believe that he really has turned into an old man.
3) You voted Kate Beckinsale the 71st sexiest woman in the world in a recent magazine poll.
4) You loved Baywatch but wanted something humiliating and terrible to happen to David Hasselhoff… like appearing in an Adam Sandler movie.
5) You’ve been kidnapped by a man with a gun and he’s forcing you into the cinema.
6) Your entire family, including grandma and grandpa (who are both dying from an incurable disease) are obsessive Adam Sandler fans and want to have a family trip to see Click before going for one last family meal together because “Family Comes First.”

If you don’t fit into any of the above categories but really need to be told that working too hard and not spending enough time with your family is a bad thing then, I’ll save you the price of a cinema ticket and spell it out for you now: Family Comes First.

Sadly director Frank Coraci (The Wedding Singer) cannot match Frank Capra’s great 1946 movie, It’s A Wonderful Life which handles all the same themes but with genius.
Coraci’s direction is at best competent but mostly the cinema equivalent of a badly executed colouring-in book.

Each scene is set up in the most stilted way imaginable with the actors grouped together as in the most amateur of school plays, lines delivered lamely to camera with very little real inter-reaction between the characters whose facial expressions, often, do not even match between shots. It has been shot by numbers with the hapless actors having to perform as if they were rehearsing in front of a mirror.

This, of course is Adam Sandler’s style. His method, learnt from his previous career as a stand-up comedian, is to look straight into the lens as he puts on funny faces or funny voices.

When he was young and fresh-faced, he brought a certain charm to the screen but, now that he is rounder of face and fuller of figure, his manic, sub-Jim Carey cavorting just comes across as desperate and unconvincing.
Far from engaging us in his dilemma when pressure of work stops him from noticing his loving family, he succeeds in coming across as merely cynical and selfish.

In fact the film, when it is not pushing sentimentality to a new low, has a depressing and bitter tone which is ill-at-ease with Sandler’s slapstick instincts.

Somewhere in the middle of this drawn-out, sickly nonsense is poor old Christopher Walken who plays the mysterious Morty with all his usual quirkiness. Someone should have warned him away from this project – he deserves so much better.

As does Kate Beckinsale who puts in an efficient performance as the long-suffering wife and Henry Winkler too who, once you get used to him being a granddad, supplies the only genuine warmth in the whole film.

As for the rest, David Hasselhoff delivers an embarrassingly caricatured self-parody which exposes his inability an actor, Sean Astin, as Bill, “the other man”, has his most nauseating role since Sam the Hobbit in Lord of the Rings and the two children must have topped the class in Hollywood’s Academy for Precociously Cute Kids.

When you’re looking for a button on your remote for this film, it’s not so much fast forward as eject.

Cert 12A

Adam Sandler
Kate Beckinsale
Christopher Walken
David Hasselhoff
Henry Winkler
Julie Kavner

Frank Coraci

Running time:
107 minutes

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