(This is a preview of the PopRox column that appears in Sunday’s Pocono Record.)
There is a Saturday Night Live alum whose movies have made the fourth-most money at the box office of any of his other former Saturday Night Live cast members.
From 1998 up until last November, 12 of his 13 pure, live-action comedies grossed over $100 million, making him one of the most bankable, sure-thing actors in Hollywood.
Around the world, his movies have made more than $3.2 billion.
He’s one of the funniest people in the world, responsible for no less than a half-dozen of SNL’s funniest characters of the 90s.
He’s also no longer watchable as a movie star.
This is where we’re at with Adam Sandler, the most frustrating comedic movie star, maybe of all time. While his movies make millions, the guy hasn’t been funny in one for a decade. And even then it was questionable.
Most times, you can blame it on the writer or the producer — but Sandler is the writer and producer on most of his movies. So the blame is squarely on him. Seeing as his new movie coming out June 15, That’s My Boy — on which he is a producer — looks about as funny as a coronary procedure, his streak looks to be intact.
There is one thing to look forward to on That’s My Boy. It’s Sandler’s first R-rated effort, meaning it could sound more like his early, brilliant albums than him non-sensically inventing a female twin. And the moon could easily fall out of the sky and crash land in Reeders. But hey, there’s a chance, right?
I checked out on Sandler years ago when I awarded Bulletproof my coveted Most Disappointing Movie I Ever Saw in the Theater award. It hasn’t been topped yet — and I saw Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull in the theater.
Actually, I didn’t check out, I just stopped expecting anything bordering on funny from Sandler. I hoped — but I never expected.
And even though I went in to each movie expecting nothing, I kept being disappointed. How could someone so obviously funny — he’s a top 10 all-time SNL cast member, no question — keep making unfunny movies?
There are some movies I’ll listen to arguments for, but the last Sandler straw for me came with the unfunny atrocity known as Grown Ups. After 45 minutes, I shut it off. I hadn’t laughed, snickered, smiled or even smirked. It made The English Patient look like a laugh riot.
But maybe it was me, maybe it was the mood I was in or something. So I tried it again a couple nights later, and laughed even less, if that’s even possible. It is — I negative laughed. That’s when you get depressed for wasting an hour of your life on something you knew was going to be a waste. The movie is one, big, New England vacation for Sandler and his old SNL chums that he charged to his fans.
If you can still pay to see Sandler in a comedy and look at yourself in the mirror at night, you’re a better person than I am. I just know he doesn’t get one dime of my money or one second of my time from now on.
But just in case you wanted to remember what Adam Sandler the comedy innovator looks like …