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Broetry In Motion

In ‘The Do-Over,’ will Adam Sandler + David Spade = success? Who cares, just go and see it. Long live Adam Sandler movies.

Jonathan Zalman
May 10, 2016

The trailer (remember when we used to call them previews?) for Adam Sandler’s new movie The Do-Over, was apparently published on April 20—launched into the Internet ether by some Netflix marketing team that probably thought the date would be ironic enough to spark a weed-related viral sensation—but it somehow only came to my attention today. This makes sense because it’s not the mid-’90s and Sandler, who, for the record, I love, doesn’t quite matter like he used to. Feast your eyes:

Now, I must admit: I did not see Sandler’s last Netflix flick, The Ridiculous Six, the first of his four-film deal with the company. But then again I don’t think many others did either after it was widely panned. And I also haven’t seen many of his recent films, which have also been widely panned. But who cares a) what critics think, b) what critics think, and c) what critics think about Adam Sandler’s movies. Humor, last I checked, is objective. Some people like dick jokes; others like Freud jokes.

If you’re a fan of Sandler, you probably don’t even need to watch the Do-Over preview to know that you’d at least be open to seeing it: you’re either in the Sandler camp or you’re not. And, yes, I imagine this is coming off as defensive—an answer to some chorus out there claiming Sandler’s career is over and rotten, or at least will never be the same—by virtue of the fact that his recent movies have sucked. OK. So let’s examine said recent suckiness, using scores from Rotten Tomatoes (an essentially Warner Bros.-owned website):

Pixels (2015)
Tomatometer (percentage of positive reviews by critics): 17 percent
Audience score (percentage of audience members who rated the movie with love): 47 percent
The Zalmanator: Didn’t see it.

The Cobbler (2015)
Tomatometer: 9 percent
Audience score: 36 percent
The Zalmanator: Didn’t see it.

Men, Women, and Children (2014)
Tomatometer: 32 percent
Audience score: 45 percent
The Zalmanator: Didn’t see it.

Blended (2014)
Tomatometer: 14 percent
Audience score: 64 percent
The Zalmanator: Didn’t see it, sorry.

Grown Ups (2010)
Tomatometer: 14 percent
Audience score: 64 percent
The Zalmanator: Liked it. Liked it a lot more on a rainy weekend day. Will watch when I have the privilege of cable television.

You Don’t Mess With the Zohan (2008)
Tomatometer: 38 percent
Audience score: 45 percent
The Zalmanator: Really liked it. Hummus and penis and sex jokes. (Wait, isn’t that every Sandler film? Yep. I’ll take it, mang.)

Now let’s look at the scores from some of Sandler’s earlier movies, his “classics,” if you will.

Coneheads (1993)
Tomatometer: 33 percent
Audience score: 37 percent
The Zalmanator: A fine film featuring my childhood crush, Michelle Burke, a Conehead who played Chris Farley’s girl. Burke was also in Dazed and Confused, released the same year. What a time! Also, Dan Aykroyd as the Conehead patriarch is Oscar-worthy.

Airheads (1994)
Tomatometer: 21 percent
Audience score: 50 percent
The Zalmanator: Obligatory viewing. Brendan Fraser’s best role other than Encino Man, which, let the record show, is a 5-star film.

Happy Gilmore (1996)
Tomatometer: 60 percent
Audience score: 85 percent
The Zalmanator: Shooter McGavin. Moonraker villain dude. Golf. Enough said.

The Wedding Singer (1998)
Tomatometer: 67 percent
Audience score: 80 percent
The Zalmanator: Pretty good. People love this movie. I like it. Will watch on a longish flight.

The Waterboy (1998)
Tomatometer: 35 percent
Audience score: 71 percent
The Zalmanator: Kathy Bates! Girls are the devil!

Little Nicky (2000)
Tomatometer: 22 percent
Audience score: 56 percent
The Zalmanator: Weird af. Love it. Pineapples up Hitler’s ass!

Sure, Sandler’s earlier comedies were rated more highly, but not by much. Suffice it to say that, at least according to these numbers, nobody—critics and audiences alike—cares much for Adam Sandler comedies. Which is a load of crap, because Sandler’s movies, and those of his comedic kin—Rob Schneider, David Spade, Chris Farley, Nick Swardson, even Norm MacDonald—are American lore. I mean, where do you think Seth Rogen comes from? The path was paved, at least in part, by Sandler’s broetry. One cannot live in America without eating McDonald’s, having a memory from prom, knowing what Nerf is, and watching an Adam Sandler-related movie. Even PCU and Tommy Boy count in that group—thanks, Adam and co.

So: give The Do-Over a chance. It’s your duty. Sure it may suck. But you also might love it. Sandler’s earned your respect. Or, at least, he’s earned mine.

Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.