After nearly a decade of bad comedies starring Adam Sandler, it feels weird to call his recent vehicle “good”. It’s also funny, good-natured, and features Sandler at the top of his form. Somebody pinch me.
Sandler plays the title character in Sandy Wexler. Transparent Hollywood talent manager Wexler may appear distracted and fidgety, but he presents himself as a showbiz know-it-all because he believes he is – a character flaw that’s fundamental to an enjoyable Sandler movie. In most of his recent films, Adam Sandler plays well-off big shots who are quick-witted and desirable. While this may be flattering for the actor, this self-aggrandizing exercise is neither funny or impressive. A shot in 2011’s Just Go With it featuring Sandler entertaining happy children while two infatuated, attractive women watch nearby sums everything up too well.
In Sandy Wexler, Sandler couldn’t be more unappealing as he’s gussied up in pastel colours and wheezes an infamous laugh between embellished compliments. Wexler, however, is endearing. He’s relentlessly loyal and he always has the best interest of his clients in mind. Sandy is interesting because of his selfless personality that shines through his exaggerated getup, thus Sandy Wexler works because of the heart that drives it. The film also avoids being too sentimental since Sandy’s appreciative peers see right through his well-intentioned shenanigans.
The movie’s inflated runtime of 131 minutes is important to note for those at-home movie goers looking for something short-and-sweet, although the pacing is thoughtful as it chronicles the working and personal relationship of Sandy and aspiring musician Courtney Clarke (Jennifer Hudson). Some supporting characters are gratuitous to the story (a pro-wrestler client played by Terry Crews, a flirtatious neighbour played by Jane Seymour), but these sidetracks still make us laugh.
I’m optimistic that Sandy Wexler will act as an epiphany and a positive reassessment for Adam Sandler. After all, it’s Sandler’s best film in years.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie