Dickens Does It Better
Always choosing work or money over family usually leads to a lonely, unhappy existence. Click, starring Adam Sandler, emphasizes that important message -- one we’ve already received in numerous versions of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and in such recent movies as The Shaggy Dog.
Instead of ghostly visitations or shape-shifting miracles that force the main character to realize what really matters in life, Click's gimmick is a “universal remote” which enables Sandler’s character to speed-up his life in order to avoid people and situations he doesn’t enjoy, but mostly to get more work done. I know it’s a cheap shot, but I couldn’t help wishing for one of these incredible gadgets while watching Click.
This is definitely not one of Sandler’s best films -- no Wedding Singer romantic sensitivity or Waterboy innocent appeal emerges here. In the role of Michael Newman, an ambitious architect with a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) and two darling children (Joseph Castanon and Tatum McCann), the veteran SNL comic, who seems to be reading his lines, shows emotion simply by raising and lowering his voice, not through any nuanced inflections or facial expressions.
However, supporting cast members Beckinsale, David Hasselhoff and Christopher Walken manage to deliver excellent performances. Hasselhoff does an especially funny turn as a puffed-up boss, and Walken easily steals the film as Morty, the mysterious man from “Way Beyond” who introduces Sandler’s character to the magical device. Walken’s Morty comes across as weird-looking and lovable as one of those huge Muppets (think a kinder, gentler Sweetums); in addition to relaying enigmatic instructions, he sings and dances a little to liven things up. How I wish Walken had more screen time in this movie!
The idea behind Click is a good one. Co-writer Steve Koren(Bruce Almighty) claims it came from a joke he once played on his girlfriend. “We got into a long argument, so I picked up the remote, pointed it at her and hit the ‘mute’ button,” he says. “She didn’t find my little wish amusing, but I thought a lot of people could relate.”
The story that evolved from that simple incident tries to answer a number of questions. What if you could actually control your life with a remote? What if you could raise or lower the volume of everything around you? What if you could re-wind and look at your past? What if you could fast forward and see your future? Intriguing what-ifs, for sure.
Unfortunately, while allowing a great deal of freedom to develop Sandler’s character arc, the movie’s circular plot reminded me of a snake coiling round and round until it finally swallows itself. Also, it’s discouraging that one other question seemed uppermost in the filmmakers’ minds: how many dog-humping and flatulence scenes can be added for cheap laughs? Answer: too many.
(Released by Columbia Pictures and rated “PG-13” for language, crude and sex-related humor and some drug references.)