The Movie Binge

Review: Click

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As a (very) lapsed Catholic, I feel I must confess, and make penance for, the fact that this review is being published over a week after the movie's release; I've broken one of The Movie Binge's informal rules. And as a strictly moral fellow, I must confess another sin as well: The reason this review is late is because I was trying, desperately, to avoid having to see this film in a theatre, and therefore financially reward its existence. Yes, dear readers, I admit it: I looked for torrents, I looked for bootlegged DVDs (and found one, though unfortunately I was in way too much of a hurry at the time to stop and buy it); but in the end, both my logistical failure and my inherent decency demanded that I watch the movie through legal, MPAA-approved means. Boy, did I get what I paid for.

So yes, as you might expect, Click is not particularly good, though it is not the worst movie I've seen this summer (paging Ethan Green). But there's plenty to object to. There's the distinctly non-witty script, which forces toilet humor on a premise that requires absolutely none (and which goes back to the well for the same damn jokes over and over). There's the utterly bewildering casting, wherein none of the children in the film could even remotely, under any circumstance, be considered to be the children of their on-screen parents, nor could the child who played the young Adam Sandler be considered by anyone with functioning eyes to resemble Adam Sandler. And just what the hell is Kate Beckinsale's deal, anyway? Why would one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood choose to appear in this wretched, brainless film? Lord knows with her past choice of roles, I shouldn't be so surprised (role call: Underworld! Pearl Harbor! Van Helsing!), but compounding the insult is the film's profound sexism.

Honestly, I thought movies this sexist weren't legal anymore. Beckinsale is given nothing to do but wear sexy pajamas and fight half-heartedly with Sandler (and immediately kiss him and have make-up sex with him afterward), while every other woman in the film is a leggy blonde in a mini-skirt whose function is to open doors for men and take jokes about being "the office slut" (Rachel Dratch plays Sandler's secretary, who, because she is not a leggy blonde in a miniskirt, is made the butt of a sex-change joke later in the film; before this, however, she is at least given what might be the film's only genuinely good gag to execute). At the same time, we're expected to laugh along with Sandler as he insists on a burqa-like dress code for his daughter. Ha ha! Fathers don't want their daughters to be sluts, but fathers like sluts themselves! Oh, what a cutting observation.

This toxic moral stew (see this intriguing New York Times article for a further interesting point, interrogating the notion of just how deeply we're actually supposed to feel the "come-uppance" scenes in quasi-morality tales like this one) could at least be leavened by some genuine comedy, but sadly, it isn't. Dratch does what she can in her brief role, but Walken's attempt at a zanily off-kilter performance doesn't come off, and Sandler is his usual late-period schlubby self, with none of the impish glee that made him legitimately funny in admittedly non-highbrow fare like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore. That impish glee was contingent on a certain cruelty built into his characters that might've been funny coming from a younger man, who you would've hoped had time to change; but watching a forty-year-old literally do violence to children and repeatedly kick another grown man in the groin is much less funny and much more, well, antisocially psychotic. It is, however, both amusing and slightly disturbing to watch old-age makeup transform Sandler into an eerie simulacrum of the week's other big Jewish star, Leonard Cohen; it's a positive association that can only help you appreciate his otherwise reprehensible character.

Again, I'm sure it's not a message that needed to be sent to anyone who isn't contractually obligated (or at least obligated under the threat of Latin Snakebite) to see this film, but: don't bother. Really, please, don't bother. They've already made ten dollars more than I wish they had.

Comments

Dude...it's just a movie. Chill.

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