Let's take a look at the Universal Remote Michael receives from Morty (Christopher Walken), a strange scientist working in the backroom of Bed, Bath and Beyond.
FF to Story...
Michael Newman and his wife, Donna (Kate Beckinsale, "Pearl Harbor", "Underworld") live in suburbia with their two kids, Ben and Samantha. Michael has a difficult time juggling commitments to his family (he has to cancel a camping trip on 4th of July weekend) with the demands of his boss, Ammer (David Hasselhoff), who keeps giving him more work as he dangles the promise of a promotion as a carrot in front of Michael. Almost at his breaking point and fed up with the proliferation of remotes in his house, Michael sets off to find a Universal Remote. Stopping at Bed, Bath and Beyond, he finds Morty, who promises Michael he has something that will "rock your world". Returning home with the new gadget, Michael finds he can turn down the volume on his dog, fast forward through arguments with Donna, boring family dinners with his mom and dad (Julie Kavner and Henry Winkler) and fast forward through the (dreaded) massage part of sex with his wife. He can also pause his boss while he takes out his aggressions, hitting Ammer repeatedly in the face, before resuming the discussion. But the Universal Remote has some awesome powers and Michael doesn't heed Morty's warnings.
ACCESS Special Features: Actors
Adam Sandler is a funny guy. In limited doses. Much of the comedy in "Click" comes from grumbled responses under his breath, slipping in an insult or note of exasperation. And much of this humor is funny. He rushes to his son's swim meet and arrives just as it is ending. He runs to the side of the pool, congratulating who he thinks is his son but is actually an Asian kid. When the kid wipes the water out of his eyes, he says "You're not my father". Sandler responds, in a lower voice "At least as far as you know." As Sandler walks away, the kid anxiously asks his parents "He's not my Dad is he?" It's a funny moment, and there are more of them, all involving Michael getting pissed off at a neighbor kid, or bad kids at the park, and similar types of situations. But there are two problems with this. All of the jokes are concentrated in the first half of the film. And because Michael is such a jerk towards people outside of the family, he sometimes has difficulty turning this off when he interacts with his family.
As Michael plays around with the new remote, the filmmakers have a field day allowing Sandler one opportunity after another to make fun of or comment on his current way of life, which is very similar to how many of us live. He changes himself into different colors, he makes Ammer change sizes (widescreen, zoom, pan and scan, etc.). While these are funny, they are also rather juvenile and don't help advance the plot or have any connection to the story.
But about halfway through the film, everyone and everything takes a dramatic turn. It almost seems like the filmmakers felt they had to make the film `substantial' in some regard, so they decide to make it dramatic, moving completely away from the comedy.
SKIP forward to Chapter 10.
As Michael uses the gadget to control more and more of his life, the film suddenly takes a turn to high drama; Michael begins missing events in his life, there is a divorce, a heart attack, death, obesity, a wedding and more. Is this the same film? The two halves are not blended well. Everything would be a lot smoother if there were elements of drama during the first half, interspersed with the comedy and vice versa. As it is, there are two definite halves of the film, which don't blend.
Sandler seems to realize he won't always be the star of multi-million dollar comedies. In the last few years, he has been making more family centered big-budget comedies while occasionally venturing into "dramedy", comedies with more dramatic themes. Unfortunately, few people saw "Punch Drunk Love", the film directed by P.T. Anderson ("Boogie Nights", "Magnolia") featuring a pretty good performance from Sandler. On the other hand, it is very fortunate very few people saw the dismal James L. Brooks' film "Spanglish" co-starring a shrill, completely unbearable Tea Leoni. But making films like "Click" isn't going to help Sandler sustain a long career because it doesn't show off his ability to work in either genre well. If he wants to make a drama, he needs to make a good drama. If he wants to make a comedy, stick to the hijinks. This film doesn't blend the two elements well and only points to the deficiencies in his ability as an actor. For each film, he needs to commit to the genre and give it his all. If he does this, we might actually see him give a good performance in a drama at some point.
FF to Supporting Cast
I have never been a fan of Kate Beckinsale. In each of the films I have seen, she seems to play characters that are so devoid of any interesting features or traits that any actress could play the role. She brings absolutely nothing to these performances. Why does she keep making films? Donna in "Click" is no exception. Yes, she's pretty but there are dozens of pretty actresses currently working in films that could bring something, anything to this role and make it more interesting. "Click" was written by the same guy who wrote "Bruce Almighty" and both films share a similar problem. The films are all about the main character and a sidekick, with some funny supporting characters thrown into the mix. In each film, the female co-star is basically a blank canvas giving the actress a unique opportunity to create an interesting character. In "Almighty", Jennifer Aniston did a better job but Beckinsale seems uninterested in gaining our interest.
Christopher Walken, as always, is good for a few laughs; he basically is just playing a caricature of himself at this point. But his character mirrors the tone of the story and halfway through, he becomes a different entity all together.
FF to Jokes not about Body Functions...
Searching. Searching. Still searching....
Okay, there are a few. But when the comedy begins to concentrate on these, it reverts back to Adam Sandler's early days, his goofy, more juvenile films. At one point, Michael pauses his boss, gets up on his desk and points his butt at his boss' face then farts. A couple of times. Yawn.
Throughout the film, there is a running joke involving the family dog. It is funny the first or second time we see it, but when the filmmakers keep returning to this joke, even after the family has two more dogs and those dogs keep doing the same things, you have to wonder if the majority of the film was written by drunken college frat boys.
There is so much they could have done with this concept that farting in your boss' face and watching a sex-crazed dog seem sophomoric at best.
ACCESS Special Features: Documentary about Special Effects
"Click" has a lot of special effects. This is both an interesting addition and a hindrance to the story.
Soon after Morty gives Michael the Universal Remote, the `mad scientist' shows him how to use the menu. The remote transports Michael into a 3-D Menu, where he can listen to a commentary about his life (provided by James Earl Jones), skip back to other chapters in his life, access special features and more. This is represented by a flowing grid which looks like the 2-D menus we have on many DVDs, but the elements circle around him. It is a nice touch and well-done. And the filmmakers seem to like it because they use it repeatedly, showing off the special effects at their disposal.
Throughout the film, as we see people in various stages of their lives, we also see a lot of make-up. It is pretty good make-up for the most part, but it is still make-up. At one point, Julie Kavner and Henry Winkler look like they have been given facelifts by a computer and then later, we see them under pounds of make-up. Again, the make-up is good, but you don't ever forget it is there.
ACCESS Special Features: Review by thornhillatthemovies.com
There is an abrupt shift halfway through the story, which doesn't work. One moment, we are watching a mildly amusing comedy, the next, a bunch of actors trying to create high drama. If they had figured out a way to blend the two in a more seamless fashion, or to stick with the comedy, "Click" would've benefited greatly.