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MV5BNzc2ODI5NjAyMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzIyOTE4MDE@._V1_SX214_AL_Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler

Jim and Lauren are both single parents. They meet on a blind date, which turns out to be a disaster. But fate throws them together again, this time at a family holiday resort in Africa. They try to avoid each other and concentrate on spending quality time with their children. But they have more in common than they thought, and are drawn together.

Although this film is rated M, it seems like a G-rated family flick. And like most family movies: all information about the characters is laid out before you in the first 15 minutes; everything is bigger and brighter than in real life (where is this LA-style African holiday resort??); people are ridiculous; what happens to these people is ridiculous; and you know how it’s going to end all the way through – even the surprises are not surprises.

This is quite a good family movie with a couple of great one-liners. But all-in-all it lacks maturity and, in my opinion, is a very disappointing romantic comedy, especially considering that it features two of the best romantic comedy actors around.

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Punch Drunk Love

MV5BMTQ5NzU2MjE2M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNDM2Njc5._V1_SX214_Emily Watson, Adam Sandler, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Barry (played by Sandler) has some social and psychological issues, and trouble controlling his anger. Dominated by 7 sisters, he is isolated and lonely. He uses the services of a phone sex line, which turns out to be a hoax company and who set out to scam him. While he is dodging their goons, Barry meets Lena.

Lena may be the only one who can understand Barry, and she may be the only one to save him from himself.

The sound affects in this movie are finely sculptured around the action, at times haunting, at times jocular, at times fantastical and futuristic. This is an unusual film, superbly driven by Watson and Sandler. Great little find for the rom com genre.

That’s My Boy

MV5BMTM3NDMyNzgzMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjIyMTA1Nw@@._V1_SX214_Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester, Susan Sarandon

Donny fathers a child with his high school teacher at the age of 15. She goes to jail and he raises the child (Todd) as a single parent. Donny becomes famous for having nailed his teacher, and all the trappings of fame destroys any hope of him raising his child with any decent parenting skills. Todd leaves home as soon as he turns 18 and cuts ties with his old man.

Just before Todd gets married, Donny tries to reunite them. But he has to work hard to get Todd to understand that he isn’t such a bad bloke.

This was one of the worst films I have ever seen. Shame on Adam Sandler for participating in this trash. We sat there with our mouths agape at the attitude shown towards women, and the ridiculous comedic treatment of issues like pedophilia, incest and rape. Bloody offensive and not in the least funny.

Jack and Jill

Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes, Al Pacino

Jack Sadelstein (Sandler) has a twin sister who he thinks is the opposite to him. He is a successful advertising executive with a wife, kids and big house. Jill comes from the Bronx, used to look after their parents, and is a little unusual. Jack finds it very difficult to get along with his twin. Jill makes regular Thanksgiving visits to Jack and his family each year. This year she extends her stay because their parents are both dead and she is lonely. This exceedingly exacerbates Jack who finds his sister extremely needy. So he tries to find her a boyfriend. This is all happening at the same time as he needs her to help him get an advertising deal with Al Pacino. Hmmm.

Both the characters of Jack and Jill are played by Adam Sandler. So weird! The story is terrible. As with so many romantic comedies these days, it just rushes through the scenes, not taking enough time to explore characters or plot lines. I don’t know why Katie Holmes was even there, she was pretty much a bit part. It was the same as their kids – they had quirky personalities and eccentricities that didn’t get explored fully, so they probably shouldn’t have been mentioned in the first place.

Jill has two romantic interests – one is Al Pacino (playing himself) and the other is Jack’s gardener. The Pacino relationship is given enough time in the script to develop, so makes a bit of sense. But the other one is just chucked in there somewhere, adding more ridiculousness to the film than it needs.

Despite how bad the film was, and how much I told myself not to laugh because it wasn’t funny – I did laugh, quite a bit. I guess it was so stupid it was funny!

Watch it on TV if you like Adam Sandler, don’t expect too much, and you’ll probably find it lightly laughable.

Just Go with it

Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler, Nicole Kidman

Danny (Sandler) is a plastic surgeon and the film’s bad boy. He fakes being married so he can pick up chicks for one night stands, and save himself from ever getting his heart broken. But as we’ve seen before in this classic rom com theme, the bad boy is really a very nice guy underneath the lying exterior.

Danny hooks up with Palmer (Brooklyn Decker). He really connects with this one, so decides to give up the fake marriage gig. But how to explain the fake wedding ring? He tries to get himself out of a tricky situation but ends up digging himself into a bigger hole – he creates a fake family with his lovely assistant/receptionist, Katherine. The role of Katherine is expertly played by Jennifer Aniston who does a sterling job at being a divorced single mum. When Nicole Kidman makes a timely entrance into the movie, Danny and Katherine proceed to dig themselves further into the hole.

There’s a very good supporting role played by Nick Swardson who is Danny’s best friend, Eddie. Watch out for the scene with the sheep which is the funniest bit in the movie.

There is a lot of quick dialogue in this flick, so listen carefully – no eating crisps or you’ll miss something. I was pleasantly surprised with how well Aniston and Sandler worked together. I like 21st Century Sandler roles better than his older roles – he’s less of a buffoon and more of an intelligent, funny, likeable person. This is a great rom com and I highly recommend it.

Spanglish

Adam Sandler, Tea Leoni, Paz Vega

John Clasky is a top LA chef. His wife, Deb, is taking a break from her career and is trying out the role of stay-at-home mum to their two kids and her own mother. Deb employs a Mexican housekeeper to help out (in true upper-middle class LA-style). The housekeeper, Flor, speaks very little English and has to learn how to communicate in her new world.

Deb is suffering from an identity crisis and is overconsumed in neuroses. She buggers up the relationship with the housekeeper, Flor, by taking control of her daughter. Flor is threatened by the relationships her daughter makes, ones that don’t involve her in a world that is very foreign. This film is about relationships, between the kids and their parents, and particularly mothers and daughters.

Adam Sandler as John is lovely. He isn’t the comedian this time round, he’s a caring dad and a struggling husband.  He’s also struggling with his career, trying to get the balance right. I like films that involve food, and with John being a chef, we see a little bit of cooking and eating.

I’m not sure why, possibly because of the performances from Sandler and Leoni, but I quite like this film. It’s not a great movie by any means, but it has a lot of heart.