When looking at the filmography of comedian and actor Adam Sandler, it is difficult not to be astounded by the clear divide between the kinds of projects he chooses. On the one side, you have such critically acclaimed works as Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love and the recent Safdie Brothers hit Uncut Gems, and on the other stands movies such as the Grown Up series, The Do-Over and, shudder, Jack and Jill. Despite this stark contrast, Sandler himself has now gone on record saying that he has never once phoned in a performance.
“Man, I don’t know what the downs have been. I mean, maybe in some people, when they write about me, they talk about my downs. But I don’t have any downs. I love every movie I’ve made. I’ve never in my entire career phoned one thing in.”
Whilst the higher caliber works often garnish Sandler with a vast amount of critical praise, the so-called “downs” of his will usually result in Sandler being labeled a cinematic criminal. The names he is given by critics (and sometimes audiences) are usually then followed up by accusations that the actor is not even trying and is simply showing up to receive a paycheque, but this is now something that Sandler himself has now refuted with great veracity.
Looking at the two distinct halves of the movies he puts his name to, it is hard to argue with Sandler’s statement. Whether it be the quasi-offensive insanity of Netlix’s The Ridiculous Six, to his vocal work in the animated Hotel Transylvania movies, Sandler more often than not brings a certain level of energy with him every time.
Part of that enthusiasm might be that Sandler tends to choose his projects with a degree of care, including based on whether or not the location such a film is shooting in might be a place he’d love to visit. The latter point might well be why people toy with the idea that he is phoning it in. Still, while critics might find fault with a large amount of Adam Sandler’s output, at the very least he seems to be having a good time, even if the audience, perhaps, is not.
Whatever you may think of Sandler’s back catalog, the man himself is clearly very happy with the work he has produced and is willing to defend it to the hilt. His most recent movie to fall on the critically acclaimed side is Uncut Gems, a thriller that came out last year. Sandler stars as Howard Ratner, a charismatic New York City jeweler always on the lookout for the next big score. When he makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime, Howard must perform a precarious high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides, in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win.
Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie, who co-wrote the screenplay with Ronald Bronstein, Uncut Gems stars Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel, Lakeith Stanfield, Julia Fox, and Eric Bogosian alongside Sandler. This comes to us from CBS News.