Director: Steven Brill
Writers: Adam Sandler (screenplay), Adam Sandler
Stars: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Hudson, Kevin James
Adam Sandler films were a staple diet in my viewing habits in the mid 90’s to early 2000’s. I admit I loved the child like characteristics of Billy Maddison and his Anger issues in Happy Gilmore, even teaming up with Damon Wayons in the 1996 film Bulletproof was a really funny cop versus the villain movie. I think it’s fair to say Sandler ’s popularity in these early films and appearing as a regular on SNL catapulted him to the successful and funny romantic comedy “The Wedding Singer” and a couple of years later in the hit film “Big Daddy”
Sandler could do no wrong as far as the public could see. Even lesser successes in the box office and reviews such as Little Nicky and Mr. Deeds still managed to please his fan base even if the humour felt a little repeated and Sandler felt the need to put the Billy Maddison child like voice on every once in a while. I really could go on with countless hits in his resume (Anger Management, Reign on Me etc) somewhere down the line as the first decade in the new millennium was coming to a close, I felt he did his last great movie in Funny People. This movie really captured Adam’s acting abilities in the same way Reign on Me did previously and I also felt the script was strong with a great supporting cast.
After this, the quality dipped as films like “Grown Ups”, “Jack and Jill” and even a “Grown Ups 2” came out. “Pixels” was okay and then a string of Netflix flops followed. It’s fair to say this decade really has been a mixed bag for Sandler and going into “Sandy Wexler” I have to admit my expectations were very low.
Back in 1995 Sandy Wexler was a talent manager working in LA, representing a group of low standard clients on the outskirts of the business. His focus and attention draws him to his newest client by accident in Courtney Clarke, a talented singer who Sandy discovers at an amusement park. Sandy Wexler surprised me a bit as for the first hour it was really just Sandler going through his Billy Maddison/ Little Nicky routine of putting on that voice and bumbling around like an idiot. Around the half way point the movie began to pick up in storyline and Wexler became a little more interesting and layered thanks to the script and story portraying a troubled man who felt he had to say what people wanted to hear all the time and never spoke the truth about how he felt.
The relationship between Sandy and Courtney was complex and it reminded me a little of the Forest Gump / Jenny relationship. Courtney breezes in and out of Sandy’s life and the contrasts between their lives although professionally are drifting apart, there appears to be a special bond between the singer and her former manager that keeps drawing her back into his life.
Like many of Adam Sandler’s movies, there are way too many celebrity appearances that are inter sliced throughout the movie in flash backs and narration on how they know the man and have a story to tell about him. Arsenio Hall, Jimmy Kimmel, Quincy Jones, Weird Al, Conan O’Brien, Chris Rock, Vanilla Ice, and Dana Carvey. It is also littered with minor cameos from Sandlers crowd in Kevin James, Henry Winkler, David Spade, Chris Rock etc but thankfully they are just that…cameos. With the movie set in the mid 1990’s I feel the cinematography was clever and a lot of the sets, music and fashion really hit the nail on the head. Arsenio Hall playing a 1995 version of himself didn’t look odd and looked like he just walked off the set of “Coming to America” (the guy doesn’t age)
Sandy Wexler is based on Adam Sandler former manager Sandy Wernick and I think this helps develop the character knowing it is based on someone Sandler worked closely with. This movie is definitely watchable and entertaining to a point if you can sit through the first 45 to 60 minutes and keep an open mind. There’s a bit of a charm and method the movies madness. It is predictable comedy at times but it also has it’s moments. Some of the one liners are actually funny and he drops in little nuggets of previous nods to his back catalogue that are more subtle than normal. I would give it a watch as it certainly is a better film than the previous Netflix releases from Adam Sandler.