by Tony Medley
This is a tawdry, clumsy, unfunny, unsuccessful attempt at
entertainment. Just as an example of the intellectual level of this
film, one of its running gags, you should pardon the expression, is a
dog that tries to hump a stuffed animal.
(Adam Sandler) is a struggling architect who puts his job before his
wife, Donna (Kate Beckinsale), and two children, Ben (Joseph Castanon)
and Samantha (Tatum McCann). He goes to Bed,
and Beyond in another flagrant example of corporate placement, and meets
Morty (Christopher Walken) in the Beyond section. Morty gives him a
magical remote control that can stop, rewind, and fast forward Michaelís
life. While this is a terrific comedic premise upon which talented
people could create a captivating comedy, the wrong people got a hold of
Right at the outset the film is on a downer because neither of the two
children can act their way out of a paper bag. With the plethora of
talented child actors around in Hollywood today, the fact that these two
found their way into this film is a pretty telling commentary on the
quality of the people making it. They donít speak their lines, they
repeat something theyíve read.
Even worse is the makeup. Because the film goes forward and backwards,
the people have to look old and young. The makeup in the final scenes of
Michaelís mother, Trudy Newman (Julie Kavner), is ludicrous.
The character development isnít good enough to pass them off as papier
m‚chť cutouts. David Hasselhof plays Michaelís boss, who supposedly runs
a top flight architectural firm. In order for this film to be
believable, Michaelís boss needs to be a credible character, someone
Michael respects and whose approval Michael desires. Instead, director
Frank Coraci and writers Steve Koren and Mark OíKeefe have created an
imbecile that would inspire nothing but contempt.
All this might be OK if this were intended as a mindless comedy. But it
is obviously intended as a serious, black comedy with a premise that
oneís family is far more important to his life than his job.
Unfortunately, while it is black and mindless, it is so unfunny it could
never be thought of as a comedy.
Lost in this maelstrom of bad writing, inept acting and dismal directing
is Kate Beckinsale. She is not only beautiful, she overcomes everything
bad about this film and gives a valiant, professional performance.
This film is such a squirming, watch checking, horrible experience I was
wishing for a magical remote that would click it off.
June 22, 2006