We offered the best of Adam Sandler. Now, in an effort to be fair and balanced, we will venture into the Adam Sandler selections that completely missed the mark. The crazy thing with Sandler: stories are often there, but as of late, the execution has been Phone-it-in City. Poor. Rudimentary. Paint-by-Number. There are a handful of his films that were neither qualifying for best or worst, and we’ll leave time to work them over a bit more. But for now…the worst film offerings of the beloved Adam Sandler.
10. You Don’t Mess With the Zohan (2008)
It was a stretch. Former Israeli Special Forces soldier ventures to the United States to open a hair salon, and live his dream. Legendary among his foes, he’s an unknown entity once arriving in the United States. His sex appeal is so strong, women can’t deny his versatile skill set in the salon chair, or in the storage closet at the salon. Then, enemies from his past discover his new identity, and…well…can you imagine anything so exciting? Something like…watching paint dry? It didn’t seem that this film was ever supposed to be good. It seemed like something Adam was contracted to do, and it was the least awful script that came across his agent’s desk. Per usual, Sandler is able to hook his rapidly dwindling 23-45 demographic with a beautiful female lead, in this case, Emmanuelle Chriqui.
9. Pixels (2015)
Pixels is far from the worst film that Adam Sandler has ever done, but it’s hitting this list based on its sheer potential, and complete and total failed execution. Well, maybe not complete and total, but there’s no denying it as a disappointment. The concept was gold: extra terrestrial aliens misinterpret humankind’s love of video games as a declaration of war, and in a counter attack, they send video game characters to earth to lay waste to humankind. Visually, this sucker was striking. There were aspects of the film that served as some audience members’ dreams come true, but the story lagged, the jokes failed to land and Chris Colombus, surprisingly, didn’t take it far enough. Or…maybe he took it too far in the wrong direction? Is it worth watching? After a few brews, most definitely, and especially if you’re an old-school video game nerd. Otherwise, pass.
8. Little Nicky (2000)
What in the hell was this? (See what we did there?) Little Nicky. The spawn of Satan. Not metaphorically speaking, rather the literal real son of Satan (and a heavenly angel). So, he’s a good deed doing demon. This film was lost from the get-go, Sandler luring us to the theater with a cast of Harvey Keitel and Reese Witherspoon in a presumed comedic romp, but it did not deliver. The best worst thing about this flick is Nicky’s love for Popeye’s Fried Chicken. Beyond that, it’s pretty forgettable. Patricia Arquette does play his love interest, and she can really do no wrong, but everything else about Little Nicky, from the story to the script to the execution of the aforementioned, flawed variables, is bad. Adam’s invention of Nicky…? Just as bad. Some of Adam’s bad movies are worth a viewing. This isn’t one of them.
7. Grown Ups (2010)
Grown Ups is infuriating on several levels. Adam Sandler scores a big budget (for a comedy film), and puts together a stellar cast of actresses to play the wives of he and his real life buddies/comedians/actors. The studio cuts a fresh trailer, and audiences are lured to the theater. It is billed as a family comedy of sorts–something that would be good for parents and their mature kiddos. At its essence, this film was a classic example of showing “all the good stuff” in the trailer. The sentiment–four friends paying homage to an old mentor–was forced, and devoid of anything resembling sincerity or originality. The cast of characters, played by Sandler, David Spade, Chris Rock and Kevin James, seemed little more than a money grab. There are first year students at USC Film School who would have made a better movie with the same script, and unknown actors.
6. Grown Ups 2 (2013)
Is this a cheat? Listing Grown Ups 2 just after the first example of Grown Ups schlock? No, your cries do not fall on deaf ears: “…but I liked Grown Ups.” That’s fine. We love Rocky IV, Bloodsport, and Billy Madison. It is entirely possible that Grown Ups is a guilty pleasure; however, Grown Ups 2? No chance in heaven or hell. This was the definitive money grab from the assembled cast, after the first film was enough of a financial success to necessitate a sequel. Could the same cast/same production team/same studio not have found a new, and more interesting screenplay to produce? Grown Ups 2 is everything that is wrong with the film industry. The reason why anyone with half a brain is annoyed with the Hollywood antics, and how/why the studio brass chooses to produce pure poop for easy money.
5. That’s My Boy (2012)
Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler together on the big screen. There has to be something really funny in this movie, right? If you haven’t seen this one, seriously, don’t bother. If you want a “flag in the ground” moment of when and why Adam Sandler/Happy Madison Productions had to seek out Netflix to make a contemporary string of crap movies, That’s My Boy is the reason. Unfortunately for Adam Sandler, and especially Columbia Pictures, this film was a definitive flop. The studio offered $70,000,000 to lock in the stars, and after several weeks in theaters, it mustered a measly $37,000,000. The story line: Donny (Sandler), raised his son Todd (Samberg) to the ripe age of 18, and then Todd left to seek his own. After several years, Todd is engaged to be married, and Donny hunts him down. Hilarity ensues.
4. The Ridiculous 6 (2015)
At this point, it has become depressing to write this list. How did we get to this point? Let’s try to imagine how this film happened. Adam Sandler hears that Antoine Fuqua is remaking The Magnificent Seven, and one night, after having a few libations, and remembering his old friend, Chris Farley, Adam begins to giggle to himself. A little scene plays in his head. In that scene, which would have been more entertaining that the whole of The Ridiculous 6, Adam and Chris are saddled up in The Magnificent Seven. From this idea: “We’d need to be more like a ridiculous six…” Eureka! Tommy (Sandler) and his band of caricature men set out on a journey to find their shared, deadbeat father. Regardless of being slashed six ways from Sunday by critics, The Ridiculous 6 was a hit (watched a lot) by Netflix viewers. If you watched it, shame on you.
3. The Do-Over (2016)
What better way to fulfill obligation to a quality Netflix contract, than to follow The Ridiculous 6 with something even worse? The Do-Over was just released when this article was written, and it took little-to-no time to rank as one of Sandler’s worst. It’s a bit troubling that Adam Sandler has really progressed as a human being, yet he’s still catering to the drunken frat crowd. It’s a little soul crushing when someone as talented, endearing, and charismatic as Adam Sandler is digressing at this point in his career. At this point, it must be stated: we love Adam! Adam is a great dude! He’s a legit, lovable family man, completely approachable and disarming in presence, but these movies have to stop. The Do-Over is another sad example of he and David Spade getting together, and doing what amateurs do on YouTube, only with a bigger budget.
2. Jack and Jill (2011)
Words of advice to any young creative writer, hoping to bust into the business: it’s all about story. Do you have a great story? If the answer is yes, then you continue to work a screenplay into a lather until you have something that people read, and say, “Wow, I really want to see this.” Sadly, for audience members of Jack and Jill, we’re pretty sure Adam showed this script to family members who don’t understand the word “objectivity.” This film wasn’t built around the story. The story was built around a premise. The premise: Adam Sandler would play twin brother and sister, Jack and Jill, who love each other, but just can’t get along. To make it even better, the story is set around Thanksgiving. Yet again, Sandler lures an A-list cast of Katie Holmes and Al Pacino into the mix, and the studio paid $79,000,000 for this foray.
1. Just Go With It (2011)
No, Adam…we won’t just go with it. We can’t. We stopped years ago. No, Adam, not even luring then “it girl,” Brooklyn Decker, into the cast, and putting yourself opposite Jennifer Aniston could save this comedy of filmmaking errors. Also in this cast: Nicole Kidman. Seriously. The film can be summed up as follows. “Oh, what a tangled web we weave: When first we practise to deceive.” Adam Sandler digs himself deeper and deeper, in attempts to keep his girlfriend from learning his not-that-bad-in-the-first-place truths. The goods of this: Jennifer Aniston. She’s still one of the most underrated actresses working in the movie biz. The bad: this thing cost $80,000,000 to make. 80 million. If something cost 80 million dollars, it should be more than vanilla with sprinkles. At least it was shot in Hawaii.