Lyndon Wells describes this one as a “very effective sleeping pill” as Top 10 Films suffers through Adam Sandler oddity The Cobbler from Spotlight director Tom McCarthy.
The term “An Adam Sandler film” carries a certain low level of expectation. The phrase has become synonymous with a poor calibre of film and The Cobbler does nothing to debunk this. This appears to be a folky Jewish themed parable that sees Sandler as a lonely New York cobbler who discovers a family secret treasure. This is a magical shoe-stitching device that’s grants him the power to become the owner of the shoes when he is wearing them. The discovery of this chameleon like power has a fairy tale element that leads to some plot. The word plot is perhaps too generous, things happen.
Things that happen include some racial stereotyping, discovery of a criminal property tycoon, an Oedipal turn and becoming a Peeping Tom. You feel slightly queasy as Sandler takes the guise of his absent father for a romantic dinner with his ma. Also, are we meant to feel sorry for Sandler when he realises he can’t get in the shower with the naked woman as he would have to take his shoes off so return back to himself rather than the attractive Dan Stevens? Also British actor Stevens is inexplicably called Emiliano with much revealed about his love life but nothing resolved.
It is not a comedy but neither is it an effective drama. Sandler looks depressed and bored throughout but the most debilitating thing is the rest of the cast that are just collecting a pay cheque. Dustin Hoffman, Steve Buscemi, Dan Stevens, Ellen Barkin, you are all so much better than this.
Sandler’s character is identified by his long coat and scarf whilst inhabiting others shoes but his lack of energy seems to infect the performances around him. This includes the Wu-Tang Clan rapper Method Man playing the part of the racist cliche.
Then to make you even more depressed you realise it’s not only co-written but directed by Tom McCarthy, director of the Station Agent and The Visitor. Thankfully he has
already redeemed himself with Oscar Best Picture winner Spotlight. Having this mess released in the same year probably didn’t help his Best Director Oscar chances.
However there are some perverse laughs – the score, for example. It sounds like a whimsy playlist put together by a sixth former on a Yamaha keyboard that wouldn’t be out of place in a porn movie (not that I know what the soundtrack of a porn movie sounds like)!
This type of mess is expected from Sandler but to the others involved I would put on my best parent voice and say “I’m not angry I’m just disappointed”. But regarding Sandler I’m just angry, I’m tempted to ask why does he keep making films, who are they for? Is anyone eagerly anticipating another Netflix Sandler film after the Ridiculous Six?
The highest praise I can muster for this film is that it is a very effective sleeping pill. I had to watch it three times as I kept falling asleep. So if anything I’ve said makes you want to watch this film apart from a morbid curiosity then please accept my sincerest apologies as I have failed you.