Adam Sandler is the name of on a film was never a guarantee of either yuks or bucks, but once upon a time back when Saturday Night Live Opera Man was transitioning to the big screen in occasionally charming fare like The Wedding Singer it inspired more hope than dread.
Today with Pixels getting burnt by critics and his latest moneymaking enterprise, Grown Ups, a twofer of nearly unbelievable badness, the contemporary comedy scene is passing him by. Those of us who used to see his films willingly might ask what was different then.
It most obvious answer is that Sandler question early work relied heavily on a kid like buffoonery that simply does not age well.
Few American performers have been able to ride childish cuteness far into middle age. Worse for Sandler, by the mid2000 moviegoers were meeting a new breed of man child that had more to offer Some Will Ferrell were so imaginative they could seem more like surrealist performance artists than comedian some Seth Rogen simply were better suited to the quick, quippy, improvisational requirements of the Apatow Age.
just being an list clown came to seem insufficient. Sandler did stand up early on, but not enough to develop the kind of perspective Louis more recently, Amy Schumer did. He has co written some of his material, but never had a voice as distinctive as Tina Fey or Amy Poehler much less the confidence to create a whole world as a writer director, as Lena Dunham has. He stagnated, opening the door for other non auteur performers like Melissa McCarthy to step in and steal his thunder.
A careful reader might notice a gender trend here. Turns out that women are funny; men who see women as they tend to be in Sandler films, less so. Sandler predicament started long before the current crop of comedy stars got hot and hip their smarts and ability to tap into the Zeitgeist make him look dumb and dated, but he been making this bed for himself for a long time.