Combustible Celluloid
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With: Adam Sandler, Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken, David Hasselhoff, Henry Winkler, Julie Kavner, Sean Astin, Jennifer Coolidge, Nick Swardson, Sophie Monk, Michelle Lombardo, Rachel Dratch
Written by: Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe
Directed by: Frank Coraci
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language, crude and sex-related humor, and some drug references
Running Time: 98
Date: 06/22/2006

Click (2006)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Button Pushing

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Adam Sandler's latest is a high-concept idea borrowed from It's a Wonderful Life (1946) that had the potential to be as deeply touching as The Truman Show (1998), but sways too far one direction into the vulgar and too far the other into the maudlin.

Sandler plays Michael Newman, an architect too busy for his family (a theme also explored in the recent R.V.). Late one aggravating night, he goes out searching for a universal remote; he finds one in the "Beyond" section of Bed, Bath and Beyond. Unfortunately, it not only operates his television, it also operates his life. He begins fast-forwarding through arguments, colds, and other unpleasant waiting periods. But the remote has a TiVo-like memory and begins fast-forwarding on its own.

Sandler has always surrounded himself with friends, which is admirable, but they tend to drag him down. And so director Frank Coraci (The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy) and writers Steve Koren and Mark O'Keefe (the men behind the very similar Bruce Almighty) fail to really capitalize on their idea. For example, why does Michael only use the fast-forward feature? Wouldn't it make more sense, if he needs extra time, to pause for a while? (When he does use pause, it's for mean practical jokes.)

As the film moves into its second half, Sandler undercuts his own talent for suppressed rage with a few painfully overwrought sequences. Coraci's plain, bland direction never fine-tunes any of this. Moreover, Sandler's crew inserts the expected tired fart jokes and humping-animal jokes to please his longtime fans. But why couldn't he appeal to his Punch-Drunk Love fans with a little intelligence and grace? Click is a wasted effort, just as Kate Beckinsale is wasted in the role of Michael's wife. Christopher Walken, however, provides a few moments of kookiness as the inventor of the remote.

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