Adam Sandler has returned once again to slap viewers in the face with his atrocious movies and inordinately large sums of money … and Rob Schneider. Long gone are the days when Sandler could pull laughs from audiences with any sort of reliability or intention. It seems that years after successful, lighthearted comedies like Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, and Punch-Drunk Love, Sandler has reverted to horrific flicks such as Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2, and Jack and Jill. Astoundingly, Sandler still has enough credibility or sheer force of will to land a multi-million dollar deal of four films with Netflix and still practice his formula of paying for him and his friends to goof around all over the world under the guise of filming a movie. And, according to Netflix, it’s working.
Sandy Wexler is the newest spawn birthed from the ungodly matrimony of Sandler and Netflix, and it’s a really bad Jerry Maguire. Sandler plays the titular character, a so-bad-it’s-not-even-funny talent agent working in Los Angeles during the ’90s. He represents a cast of characters ranging from a clown-puppeteer-ventriloquist named Ted Rafferty (Kevin James), depressing stand-up comic Kevin Connors (Colin Quinn), and aspiring actress Amy Baskin who, in one of the grossest displays of nepotism outside of Gwyneth Paltrow, is played by Jackie Sandler, Adam Sandler’s literal wife. Why anyone with even marginal respect for their profession would be in this movie is unfathomable.
From the start of the movie, Wexler is established as one of the most annoying people in Hollywood. Actual stars like Henry Winkler, Conan O’Brien, and David Spade (all playing themselves, as if they would ever associate or even know of an agent like Wexler) describe his voice, his fake laugh and clap duo, and his general awfulness as a talent agent/person. But Wexler meets, and even exceeds, all of these complaints.
The audience is first introduced to Sandler in nothing other than a montage of garbage. Sandler appears to be doing a bad, and somehow more annoying, impression of Gilbert Gottfried’s voice. Wexler is a cartoon character, but the bad kind. For example, Jim Carrey has always played a cartoonish version of himself in movies like Liar Liar, The Cable Guy, and The Mask, but it was funny and enjoyable. Wexler is the bad kind of cartoonish character, like a human Scrappy-Doo. Of course, Sandy Wexler makes lame passes at humanizing this life-size cardboard cutout of a person. He finds and begins to represent someone with actual talent, a singer named Courtney Clarke (Jennifer Hudson), and Sandy Wexler attempts to build some semblance of a will-they-or-won’t-they between them. Clarke eventually makes it big and the film attempts to draw laughs from the out-of-place Wexler among Hollywood’s high society. The worst part of these almost-jokes is that the movie gets agonizingly close to Sandler’s real humor, the kind he is praised for in actually funny movies, without being anywhere close to funny. How this is possible is again unfathomable.
The story, what little there is in this over-two-hour movie, is paltry and tiring. Wexler seems to have a relationship with Clarke in his reach, he ruins it, his character is “redeemed,” and it all works out. These aren’t spoilers, because anyone who has seen a singular movie has seen more innovation than is present in Sandy Wexler. Somehow, Clarke and Wexler end up together, in spite of his constant lying, ceaseless blame deflection, and general lack of rationality. But in spite of all of this predictability, Sandy Wexler seems to believe it’s reinvented the wheel with this “cinematic landmark.”
This is an Adam Sandler movie, so without fail Rob Schneider can be found hiding somewhere. A suggestion would be to turn Sandy Wexler into a game of “figure out who Rob Schneider is.” Viewers will be surprised at what appears as blatant racism but is probably a sheer lack of awareness and understanding when they realize that Schneider is playing a character named Firuz. For the first 100 minutes, Firuz isn’t seen. His character is the wealthy Middle-Eastern landlord of Sandler’s house who doesn’t actually live there. His only presence is as a voice on the intercom of Sandler’s house, providing “comic relief.” But don’t fret Schneider fans, he appears in brown face, complete with terrible Middle-Eastern accent, at the very end of the film. How no one at Netflix vetoed this stylistic choice escapes understanding, but there it is.
If an awful movie with a bad plot, bad acting, blatant nepotism, annoying characters, blatant racism, bad cameos, and a lengthy runtime is the goal, then go ahead and watch Sandy Wexler. Actually, don’t. Don’t ever watch Sandy Wexler. Netflix might stop throwing millions of dollars at Sandler if viewership declines for these movies.
Featured Image By Netflix