© 2006 Ray Wong
I admit I have never been a Adam Sandler's fan (although Punch Drunk Love was very good) and I didn't have great expectation for Click. Part of my prejudice was confirmed, but I was also rather pleasantly surprised at the end.
New York architect Michael Newman (Sandler) is overworked and under-appreciated by his boss Ammer (Hasselhoff). In turn, he's neglecting his lovely wife Donna and two kids. He needs to regain some control of his life and the first thing he wants is a universal remote control. At a Bed, Bath and Beyond store, he meets Morty, who gives him a slick "universal" remote that may solve all his problems.
Soon, Michael discovers that the device controls everything in the universe. He can pause people or events, fast forward, go backward, and skip chapters. He can go back to see past events (but he can't change what has already happened -- that's the catch). At first, that all seems great. He is able to skip over mundane chores, fights with Donna, and sicknesses. But when he's passed over for a promotion, the remote starts to act strangely. It starts to skip over large portions of his life. Soon, Michael discovers that the life he's known will come to an end, and the future is not what he expects.
Sandler (The Longest Yard) is his usual schmuck in Click. His overacting, childish brand of acting seems to fit the kind of stories he's telling. Still, he's way too immature for a hot shot architect to be completely believable. And one does wonder: what is a beauty like Beckinsale (Underworld: Evolution) doing with a schmuck like him? She is smart, funny, loving, sweet, and gorgeous. Fortunately, Sandler and Beckinsale do share a nice chemistry, so this pairing isn't a total disaster.
Walken (Domino) has a great time playing Morty, a calmer and more-sinister version of Christopher Lloyd's Doc in Back to the Future. Walken manages to steal every scene he's in from Sandler. Hasselhoff (Dodgeball) is also an unlikely scene-stealer as Sandler's insensitive boss. Winkler (The King of Central Park) and Kavner (The Simpsons) are perfect as Sandler's adorable hippy parents. Astin (24) is underused, mostly as Sandler's punching bag.
The story by Koren and O'Keefe (Bruce Almighty) is nothing new. It's basically a funny version of It's a Wonderful Life. Director Coraci (Around the World in 80 Days) has a frantic style that is quite suitable for the film. The make-up is outstanding, though, and the futuristic sets are interesting.
The first half tends to be too sophomoric with bathroom humor and what not. It's to be expected from an Adam Sandler's film. There are some really funny moments, though, and Hasselhoff is hilarious. I think that's part of the problem -- Sandler just isn't funny enough. After a while, his nasal whine becomes grating. Not to mention Beckinsale, Hasselhoff and Walken constantly steal scenes directly from under his feet. That's not a good sign for a comedic leading man. Part of the plot that deals with stereotypical Arabic and Japanese characters borders on being offensive. I wish they hadn't done that; they're unnecessary and unfortunate.
The second half of the film tries too hard to be sentimental. It works, up to an extent. The feelings are genuine and the plot is interesting. Even though you know how it's going to end, you still wonder, what is going to happen to these people? If they could tone down the schmaltz, it could have been better. The ending is appropriate and expected, but it's satisfying.
As a fluffy comedy, Click works within the genre and the theme of "slow down and live your life" is universal and popular. The characters are cartoonish but, again, it works for the genre and they're generally funny. Interestingly, it's Sandler who is the weakest link here. In a way, it's as if Sandler demands too much attention on himself ("hey, look, I am the funny guy!") instead of working with the rest of the cast. I wouldn't recommend anyone spending ten bucks on this, but if it's just a click away on TV on a boring Saturday night, go for it.
Stars: Adam Sandler, Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken, David Hasselhoff, Henry Winkler, Julie Kavner, Sean Astin
Director: Frank Coraci
Writers: Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe
Distributor: Sony Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude and sex-related humor, language and some drug references
Running Time: 98 minutes
Script – 5
Performance – 6
Direction – 7
Cinematography – 7
Editing – 6
Production – 7
Total – 6.5 out of 10