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Click
Reviewed by Laura Eldred, © 2006

Format: Movie
By:   Frank Coraci (director)
Genre:   Am I a Comedy? Tell me, Mommy.
Released:   June 23, 2006
Review Date:   July 10, 2006
Audience Rating:   PG-13
RevSF Rating:   7/10 (What Is This?)

You ever go to your local sub shop, order a chicken sweet onion teriyaki on wheat bread, and get a chicken parmesana instead -- on rye? Yeah, it's still good, but it's not what you expected, and you miss the sweet, sweet teriyaki sauce.

Well, I haven't either. But imagine the disappointment. Sure, it could be worse -- they could've given you a fried banana and peanut butter sandwich -- but it's not what you expected, either.

Click is something like that. Let me say, first off, that I did enjoy the film. But it's not quite what you might expect.

Yes, comedies are likely to pretend to a Grand Moral (TM). We like our dirty jokes capped off by a feeling of general camaraderie and warm fuzzies. So, we should love our fellow man, should we? And forgive those who trespass against us? All righty then.

But this film goes a little far in pushing its moral and ends up forcing its audience into a position they well may not expect, or want. I left the theater feeling contemplative and a bit down. This is not what most people go to see an Adam Sandler movie for.

Before I get off track, here's the lowdown. Adam Sandler's character, Michael Newman, has too much on his plate: family commitments, a high-pressure architect job, and way too many brussel sprouts. Feeling pressure to provide for his family, Michael consistently chooses work over pleasure. In steps Morty (a rather dandified Christopher Walken), the mysterious proprietor of the "Beyond" section of Bed, Bath, and Beyond -- who offers Michael a a universal remote control to his life.

When he first gets the remote, appropriately comedic shenanigans ensue. Aside from offering pleasing moments of revenge, the remote enables him to skip over unpleasant parts of his life: boring family dinners, that kind of thing. But before long, things get out of hand; the remote is smart and thinks it has detected his preferences.

The main problem with the film is that the great majority of screen time is spent on Michael's spiral out of control and into misery. While this is occasionally lightened by Michael pausing his life to kick someone in the balls, overall it's bleary and depressing stuff, and the half hour of opening jokes and shenanigans and the two minutes of final happy wrap up don't take the taste of shame and humiliation out of your mouth.

The film is quite reminiscent of Dickens' A Christmas Carol -- a man confronts his past and future and, in doing so, hopefully becomes a better man -- and as such begs comparison with the classic Scrooged: a better film that managed the balance between message and comedy with more finesse, perhaps because it offered more of a substantive and happy conclusion after all the soul-searching and misery. This film dumps you into a conclusion/solution that couldn't have been longer than five minutes -- if that.

I don't think that all this makes Click a bad film. I found the whole miserable section quite affecting; I was on the edge of my seat and at one point nearly cried. My message then is: Over half of this movie is a chick flick. Don't go into it not knowing that.

If that's OK with you, go for it! Since I'm a girl, and I sometimes cry over dog food commercials, this was ultimately okay with me. But I suspect that some people hoping for an average Adam Sandler romp will find more on their plate than they bargained for: a whole pile of emotional brussel sprouts coated in a tangy misery sauce.

To sum up. This is a good film. Just know what you're getting into. If you don't, you may be disappointed.

The film does have some good laughs. (First, it had the Clerks 2 trailer: good times!) The DVD menu for Michael's life -- accessed via the remote -- has a commentary feature voiced by James Earl Jones. But this kind of comedy, primarily based on the occasional one-liner, can't quite overbalance the generally morbid and depressing content of the movie.

As far as acting and such, the film's solid, if not awe-inspiring. Kate Beckinsale is gorgeous and does a perfectly respectable job here. Christopher Walken is creepy and jovial -- like an even more twisted Willy Wonka. Adam Sandler displays a fair amount of range, as he carries both the comedic and the tragic moments off with panache. Of course, to those who saw him in films like Punch-Drunk Love and Spanglish, this won't be a real surprise.

But for fans of films like 50 First Dates, Mr. Deeds, Little Nicky, or Happy Gilmore, go into the theatre warned. And armed. Preferably with a remote control that makes everything happy. Or at least with tissues.


If RevSf contributor Laura Eldred had a remote control to her life, she would spend more time watching Bruce Campbell movies. Especially if the remote had an X-Ray Vision feature.

 
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