4 November 2006
Yesterday I made mention of watching a movie, and surprisingly I'm going to mention it again. I use the word 'surprisingly' because it came from Adam Sandler and company (a Happy Madison film) and yet I found bits of it to be rather a bit better than I expected.
As far as news on the baby front, we had something of a rough night in the hospital, but Jessica covered that far better than I could, so click that if you wish, and I'll go back to discussing films.
Well, movies at least. "Film" may be aiming too high for a movie with Rob Schneider in it, since its own sights are set so low.
I've seen more than my fair share of the Happy Madison oeuvre, and I think the movies can be divided into two camps*: the movies that saddle a simple, decent story with goofy characters, meaningless side plots, in-jokes, bad accents and painful cameos and Rob Schneider; and the ones with everything I just listed but the simple, decent story.
So I make no bones about it: there are many, many things to dislike about this movie, and only four or five of them pertain to Rob Schneider and his hammy 'acting' and accent.
Several other of the bit players have roles that must have taken a good two or three brain cells a second or two to create. Sean Astin has fallen far to go from playing sturdy, dependable Sam the hobbit to Doug the lisping bodybuilder. Dan Aykroyd has done better and done worse, but I didn't stick around for enough of the credits for the animal cruelty disclaimer to see how the other whales were treated. I suspect more time was spent finding good trained dolphins, a walrus and a penguin than was spent on re-writes and dialogue coaching.
But enough about the negatives. Deep down at its core, this movie hinges around an intriguing, if not simple and convoluted idea. A capsule description probably doesn't sound too bad: A former playboy finds himself loving a sweet, damaged woman he must reintroduce himself to every day.
Even in executive summary form it doesn't sound so bad: Drew Barrymore plays a woman unable to form any memories lasting longer than a day because of a tragic accident. Adam Sandler plays a commitment-phobic marine veterinarian who finds himself smitten with her, and wants to add himself into the routine her father, brother and some friends have created to insulate her from her painful past and present. Despite the obvious difficulties, they fall in love, until she decides she's keeping him from his future by continually re-living her present.
Not so bad, eh? I actually found myself wondering, around the one hour mark, how they'd meet the critical romantic comedy requirement of "boy loses girl" but that is handily explained with a rather significant plot point that nobody found fit to mention beforehand. It's cumbersome and halfway predictable, but the story more or less makes up for it in the end.
Whether this is the contribution of first-time writer George Wing or an effort Adam and his chums have made is up in the air - I'll be looking forward to future movies George pens (like the upcoming Outsourced) more than I will the next Happy Madison product.
But is it worth slogging through all of the dreck to find the good bits? Would I have felt so sentimental if I weren't watching it with my new baby daughter laying asleep on my chest? Would I have enjoyed it more if I weren't so worn out and tired?
Possibly not. This matters not.
I have had an idea, though. What should be done in cases like these? Is there a way to throw out the bad and improve the good?
Of course there is: remake!
Why wait a decade or more to revisit this movie and freshen it up?
After all, nobody blinks when two blockbusters appear in theaters hinging around the same plot, the same action-packed set pieces. Why wonder if the second film just takes a little bit longer?
Perhaps this is a cause for the French to take up. Hollywood has a long history of remaking their films romantic, comedic and otherwise; why not do one the other way?
Or maybe Bollywood will take up the challenge. For all I know, they already have.
Nor was The wedding singer, but probably only because the company was formed to make (the first) Deuce Bigalow.