Six Movies That Should Have Killed Adam Sandler's Career Well Before 'The Ridiculous 6'

7 January 2016 | 2:03 pm | Mitch Knox

In the wake of the release of the veteran comedian's first of four (FOUR) films in a deal with Netflix, we look back at the lowest points on the road to 'The Ridiculous 6'

Adam Sandler's fucktillionth movie, The Ridiculous 6, is now out on Netflix, marking the first in a series of four films to come directly from the withered mind of the inexplicably still-prolific comedian to the streaming service.

If the early reviews are any indication — not to mention the ignominious distinction of holding a 0% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes — it's going to be a long four movies. The Ridiculous 6 (despite apparently being Netflix's most-watched movie in its first month ever) has been slammed from all corners, for reasons ranging from racial insensitivity to just downright not being funny. This is not a surprising result — Sandler has been open in the past about the fact that he pursues projects for personal enjoyment rather than artistic merit these days — but it's painful nonetheless.

Sandler's next outing, The Do-Over, is the story of "two down-on-their-luck guys" who fake their own deaths for a fresh start, only to find the identities they have assumed belong to two other guys in an even worse situation than their original circumstances. At face value (that is, without an actual movie to prove or disprove the theory yet), the premise stands as one of Sandler's strongest in living memory, with real potential to be an actually-decent flick — but let's just say we're cautiously optimistic at best about the chances of that happening, especially since Sandler's has been a Roman Empire-esque decline, protracted and ugly, and steeped in self-indulgence.

But The Ridiculous 6 is merely the latest in a long line of instances in which Sandler has brought a bowl of shit to a dinner party and we've all just politely eaten around it. Seriously, there have been plenty of warning signs that maybe we should have just stopped inviting him over well before now...

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6. That's My Boy

In this 2012 'comedy' about a man's crippling alcohol addiction and the chaos it wreaks on his financial and emotional well-being, Adam Sandler stars alongside Adam Sandler's 21st-century equivalent, Andy Samberg, as an obviously mentally ill man, more than $40,000 in debt to the IRS, who must cough up the cash by his son's wedding weekend or face a three-year prison sentence.

Somewhat surprisingly, that's apparently not a story that can be told without repeated overt references to statutory rape and incest, not to mention Sandler's usual triptych of misogyny, sexism and homophobia. However, to Samberg's credit, at least, he seems to have avoided major association with, or negative aftershocks from, this movie —  probably because nobody actually saw it (it grossed a shade under $US60 million worldwide on a $US70 million budget).  

5. You Don't Mess With The Zohan

We should have known that You Don't Mess With The Zohan was only going to hurt us. The year 2008 was, after all, the year that petrol hit $US100 a barrel for the first time ever, the global financial crisis that had emerged in 2007 was yet to even hit its peak, and the AFP conducted what was, at the time, the world's biggest ecstasy bust, to the tune of $440 million.

All the ecstasy in the world, however, wouldn't have been enough to make You Don't Mess With The Zohan a tolerable experience. This time at bat, Sandler stars as Israeli counter-terrorism agent Zohan Dvir, who inexplicably wants to pursue life as a hairstylist in New York City and thus fakes his death in order to realise his dream. Chaos ensues when he's found out by a Palestinian rival, played, as with so many Sandler films, by Rob Schneider for no good reason other than Rob Schneider must have saved Adam Sandler's life once, leaving the latter indebted to put him in his movies in variably racist roles right up until the heat death of the universe.

4. I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

The production history of I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry is way more interesting than anything that happens at all during this 2007 train-wreck of an attempt at comedy. For example, did you know the premise had been dreamed up as early as 1999, at which time it was titled I Now Pronounce You Joe & Benny and had both Nicolas Cage and Will Smith attached? Can you imagine how fucked up that movie would have been?

I'm not even saying that it would have necessarily been any better — although early draft-writer Alexander Payne has suggested the final script was heavily "Sandler-ised", so maybe it could have been, before all the racism and homophobia got put in — but I'll be damned if Cage and Smith wouldn't have made a far more compelling fake gay couple than Sandler and Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

3. Little Nicky

Arguably the first real sign that Sandler couldn't remain alt-comedy's golden boy forever was the widely maligned Little Nicky, which arrived in 2000 following an early run of successful flicks such as Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer and The Waterboy (he also starred in Bulletproof in this time, but I said "successful"). Playing Satan's youngest kid, Nicky, who is half-heartedly vying for the throne of Hell against his more hardcore brothers Adrian (Rhys Ifans) and Cassius (Tom Lister Jr), Sandler did his darnedest to make his character too annoying to root for, and made a tonne of 18-year-olds instantly rethink their new haircut (and they'd just dyed it, too).

Ultimately, this left the viewer — well, at least in my case — quietly hoping that Adrian and Cassius would actually succeed in turning Earth into a new Hell and usurping their idiot father (Harvey Keitel), who is clearly not fit to retain the title of Lord Of Darkness if he thinks that Adam Sandler would be frightening to demons of the underworld in any capacity other than his films being played on loop while they try to sleep.

2. Jack & Jill

Not even Al Pacino brings a flicker of hope to the pit of despair that is 2011's Jack & JillThere is absolutely nothing good about this movie. I know; your aunt Krystal once told you that there is good in everything, but your aunt Krystal is a liar, or has not seen this movie. Either way, she's a bad psychic. Jack & Jill even broke Battlefield Earth's record number of wins at the Razzie Awards, cinema's favourite way to slag off truly awful movies. Battlefield fucking Earth, which nearly destroyed John Travolta's career. Jack & Jill beat that movie's record — and became the first feature to win every single category in the event. That is how terrible this film is, and that's before mentioning that Katie Holmes is in it.

Simply put, this is an abyss that does not just stare back at you when you peer in; rather, it grabs you around the face and whispers into your ear, ever so softly, 'fuck you, nothing matters anyway,' and drags you down into the murky darkness below like a cinematic Swamp Of Sadness, only instead of thrashing and kicking and trying to save yourself, you calmly let the suffering wash over you as you wait for the inevitable, sweet touch of death itself, which better damn well arrive at some stage sooner rather than later during the next 91 minutes.  

1. Billy Madison

Billy Madison is not a good movie. Like Puff Daddy's music, it might have seemed good in 1995, when we were in thrall to young Sandler's offbeat charm and jokes about shampoo and conditioner — and were too young and too stupid to know any better — but it has, also like Puff Daddy's music, not aged well. 

If you've tried to endure this piece of garbage at any stage in the past, oh, decade or so and have consequently thought of anything other than the quickest way to end your own apparently ceaseless suffering, then you are fascinating and unique, and your brain should be donated to science. Where Sandler's incensed cry of, "Stop looking at me, swan!" may previously have elicited laughter, now it brings out pained side-glances and resigned groans as, in the cold, harsh light of adulthood, the film's barely concealed mediocrity becomes almost blinding. It's easy to see why Billy Madison became the cult classic it did, but it's harder to understand why that status has endured as we've all gotten old enough to understand what a truly abominable movie — with a truly abominable central character and performance, at that — it really is.