ClickFrank Coraci (Wedding Singer) directs Adam Sandler in the new fantasy comedy, Click, an It’s a Wonderful Life update with a technological spin.

The movie has lots of comedy, but also creates a surprising amount of drama from Sandler and the supporting cast. Sandler, a Saturday Night Live alumni, plays Michael Newman, a hard working architect who marginalizes his family while he seeks a partnership status at work.

His life changes dramatically after receiving free life controlling remote from an eccentric gadget man named Morty, played by Christopher Walken. Morty provides constant troubleshooting assistance for Michael, appearing whenever he has questions, and offers plenty of helpful advice. Sometimes it’s better to keep certain memories in your head, says Morty.

This special remote intrigues Michael. It provides easy solutions with little effort. So instead of solving problems at home himself by reducing his time at the office, he continues to make decisions which disappoint the wrong people – his family.

Kate Beckinsale (Underworld, Pearl Harbor, Van Helsing) plays Michael’s loving wife, Donna, a patient woman who urges Michael to change his negative behaviors and habits.

Donna and Michael begin to fight more as work continues to pull him away from family obligations. “All we ever do is get through! When is it going to end?” Michael says when discussing financial problems with Donna. These stresses bend Michael towards drastic measures. “What am I going to miss?” he says as he contemplates using the remote to make the more challenging parts of his life easier, ignoring Morty and Donna’s advice. The British born Beckinsale does a decent job with her accent while providing exemplary behavior and advice while Sandler handles most of the comedy.

Jennifer Coolidge (Legally Blonde) plays a one note role as Donna’s friend Janine. Rising young actors Joseph Castanon and Tatum McCann plays Michael’s lovable, twinkie burgling children, Ben and Samantha.

Julie Kavner (The Simpsons television series – she’s Marge’s voice) and Henry Winkler (Waterboy, Holes) play Michael’s grandparents. Besides Donna, the couple works the hardest to get Michael away from work and back to family.

All the actors playing Donna, Ben, Samantha and Michael’s parents create a lovable connection with the audience, which also forges an important connection with Michael.

This connection elevates Click a bit above most melodrama comedies because the audience usually has a strong reaction to Michael’s actions, especially his self-loathing, woe is me rants.

Audiences might shake their head in disbelief when Michael says I’m so tired of my life after seeing his beautiful wife’s unconditional love and his adorable children give him special drawings made so he can get some helpful project ideas.

Michael chooses to ignore the people who know him best and works hard to satisfy his self centered boss, played by David Hasselhoff (TV’s Knight Rider).

Saturday Night Live alumni Rachel Dratch plays Michael’s assistant and Cameron Monaghan plays the spoiled kid neighbor O’Doyle. Sean Astin (Rudy, Lord of the Rings) also plays a key role as Ben’s Speedo wearing swim instructor Bill.

All three one note roles exist only to provide comedic punching bags for Michael’s frustrations and a lot of ammunition for Sandler’s maniacal performance.

The action and scenarios almost write themselves as screenwriters utilize just about every function of a remote control throughout the movie while adding a few original parameters to the remote’s power.

The first two-thirds of the movie pack in immense amounts of laughs with a fast pace of jokes, visual gags and references. The toilet humor, a familiar element in Sandler movies, increases dramatically. The language, crude and sex related humor and drug references push the PG-13 rating to the limit. The content creates a hot/cold comedy rhythm where audiences encounter a clever dialogue joke followed by a sexually-related visual involving dogs.

After a while, the laughter disappears as Michael must live with his life decisions causing heartbreak and some surprising dramatic elements.

Composer Rupert Gregson-Williams (Hotel Rwanda, Over the Hedge) creates a nice score, which elevates the surprising dramatic elements and poignant moments near the end.

Make-up also plays an important role amid the numerous flashbacks and fast forwards. Overall this process works well (you can’t even recognize Rob Schneider as Prince Habeeboo) except for Michael’s birth and a camping flashback with Michael’s parents.

Click works as a comedy, while the sincere drama and familiar life scenarios counterbalance some of the corny, unsophisticated content usually associated with the feel good formula of Sandler’s movies.

Sandler fans won’t be disappointed. All the familiar elements of an Adam Sandler movie remain intact – the 80s music, the lovable underdog story element and the Schneider cameo.

Click represents an important crossroad of Sandler’s progression as an actor. Filmmakers are smart enough to utilize a ‘best of both worlds’ approach where Sandler can expand his audience and his acting talents with a careful mix of hilarious comedy and realistic drama. Recommended with reservations (** out of four stars).

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

This entry was posted in 2000s Film Reviews, Film Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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