With Netflix's The Week Of, Adam Sandler has once again plumped for his flagging buddy formula, but we're not mad at all
Adam Sandler Netflix's The Week Of: When Martin Scorsese casts Robert De Niro in his films or Woody Allen hires his muse, Diane Keaton, no one bats an eyelid. So why now?
Adam Sandler is the poster child for nepotism in Hollywood, having filled up all the main cast in all his films with his best friends. After giving a spectacular performance in the critically acclaimed 2017 film 'The Meyerowitz Stories,' he has gone back to his roots with the upcoming 'The Week Of,' made for Netflix.
The trailer for the film, which will be available for streaming from April 27, shows Adam engaging in his usual antics. There are a bunch of crazy antics, crazier friends and family played by Adam's own closest friends, but most importantly it has a whole lot of heart.
He plays the good-hearted dumbass like he does in all of his other films whose plans get derailed seemingly beyond repair. He disappoints the very people he is trying to impress during a high stakes situation – in this case, his on-screen daughter's big fat wedding - with his bumbling idiotic friends helping make matters worse. Ultimately, though, he ends up saving the day. In short, the blueprint to all Adam Sandler movies.
And of course, there is always a trip to an exotic location. This time around the writing team seems to have changed it up, by moving to a cheap motel, instead. This probably will be the only plot point that serves to surprise anyone – so, spoiler alert (?) - considering, Adam has gone on record to say that all of his films are merely excuses for him and his close friends to take a paid holiday.
During his promotional appearance in 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' for 'Blended' he confirmed these accusations. Jimmy had asked him, "Are you at a point where you go – when you decide to make a film – you say 'I want to make this film somewhere where I can be on vacation...Like Africa, for instance." Adam did not even let him finish his question before he confirmed this with a resonating "Yes."
This is the blueprint for all Adam Sandler films and one ingredient that always gets added to the mix is the familiar faces. At some point, you have to wonder if Adam is making movies only to employ his friends. Don't believe me, here are some inarguable facts:
Adam, who fell in love with Nick Swardson's comedy after watching him doing stand-up gave him roles in innumerable number of his films, including 'Grandma’s Boy', 'I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry', 'Don’t Mess With the Zohan', 'That's My Boy' and 'Grown Ups 2'.
This treatment is not limited to Nick. Kevin James has been employed in at least 10 of Adam's films, starting with 'I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry,' where they played a pair of friends pretending to be a gay couple. Meanwhile, Rob Schneider has appeared in over 18 films produced by Adam. Other friends who frequently appear in the actor's films include David Spade, John Turturro, Peter Dante, Allen Covert, Jonathan Loughran and Jon Lovitz.
In fact, his 'The Week Of,' co-stars Chris Rock and Steve Buscemi are also staples in Adam's films. Both of them were in both the 'Grown Ups' movies, with the former also appearing in Adam's 'The Longest Yard' and the latter appearing in the 'Hotel Transylvania' movies.
Truth is, Adam often gets criticized for following the same pattern in all his movies, for hiring the same actors to play his character's friends and family, using studio budgets to check off the exotic locations in his bucket list, playing into the "he's dumb but he's well-intentioned" stereotype and for not utilizing any of their criticisms to make "better" movies.
Here is why I think we need to cut him some slack and let him make his admittedly s****y films: They are harmless and ultimately provide full entertainment. There are moments where you want Adam to rethink on the borderline racist jokes and under-utilization of his female characters, but ultimately he creates films that leave you feeling good and happy. Ultimately, is that not what films were invented for, in the first place?
Also, Adam has made strides in the racism and feminism departments and that ought to count for something. He no longer has Rob Schneider play roles that are racially insensitive and the women in his movies have some meaty roles to play. Maya Rudolph's Deanne McKenzie in 'Grown Ups' and 'Grown Ups 2' is a working woman, while her husband, played by Chris Rock is a stay-at-home dad. Meanwhile, Drew Barrymore in 'Blended' has the same amount to contribute to the film as Adam, which is a tremendous improvement from back in the day when female leads were used merely as hot props who laugh at opportune moments.
In defense of him casting his friends in his films, I have to say that he produces most of his movies, which gives him the privilege of deciding who he wants to work with. What is so wrong about choosing to work with people you actually get along with, especially when you have invested your money in the project? He obviously wants to be surrounded by the people he loves, trusts, and do what according to him is good work. If you became CEO of your own company, would you surround yourself with a bunch of new hires or hire your best friends? Ultimately, he is betting on their talents and his chemistry with them rather than the friendship they share off-screen.
Chris and Adam, specifically have unbelievable chemistry, as is evidenced in all the other films they have worked together. While Adam has a sarcastic yet child-like sense of humor accentuated by his loud on-screen persona, Chris has a more slapstick, exaggerated humor sensibility, both of which gel well together. Even in the interviews, the duo has been giving as part of the promotion for 'The Week Of,' one can see the easy rapport they enjoy.
They give each other space to shine and build each other up, while also making the effort to put the limelight on themselves. They make each other laugh and they understand each other perfectly - on a personal level and on a professional one. Take a look at this video of Chris and Adam sharing hilarious anecdotes with Jimmy Fallon and you will see what I mean.
Why would they not monetize on this easy chemistry? It would be foolish not to.
When Martin Scorsese casts Robert De Niro and Leonardo Dicaprio in his films or Woody Allen hires his muse Diane Keaton in nearly all of their respective films, the world laps it up. There is no batting of an eyelid when you see Tom Hanks recurring in Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard's films or even when similarly dispositioned Ben Stiller gets Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn to appear in all of his films. It just goes to show that merely because Adam goes for the easy laughs, his every choice is being put under microscopic scrutiny.
Most importantly, Adam's films work. Despite Happy Madison's films receiving overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics, their box office performances have been spectacularly great.
'Blended,' for example, where Adam and his friends went vacationing in Africa. It grossed $46,219,290 in North America and roughly $81,800,000 in other territories for a total gross of roughly $128 million, even with blockbusters like 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' and 'Godzilla' playing in the theatres that 'Blended' released. This translated to three times the movie's budget.
Despite being nominated for nine Razzies at the 2014 Golden Raspberry Awards, Adam and friends' 2013 film 'Grown Ups 2' opened to number two in its first weekend, with $41,508,572, behind 'Despicable Me 2' and made a net profit of $48 million. 'I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry' was made on a budget of $85 million, but it raked in a whopping $186,072,214.
So, either a bunch of you are hypocrites, watching Adam on screen and criticizing his work simultaneously or the numbers are lying. And, we all know the numbers are not lying. It is nearly certain that the same viewership will be translated into Netflix streaming as well, when 'The Week Of' is added to the library. In fact, it will enjoy the same level of success that the three other Happy Madison Productions on Netflix - 'The Ridiculous 6,' 'The Do-Over' and 'Sandy Wexler' received.
My prediction is the next Netflix film that is in the pipeline, 'Who Do You Think Will Win?' will also be a smashing hit, even if he lays out the same blueprint he has been blindly following for decades, hires the same gang of actors he always has, and plays the same frat-boy trapped in an adult character who does the wrong things for the right reasons.