Adam Sandler’s second collaboration with Netflix may not be as incoherent a mess as The Ridiculous 6 but it is by no means good. Instead, Sandler has chosen to take an idea with potential and heart behind and twist it into yet another perverse offensive excuse for a luxury holiday, a trend which is glaringly obvious in his recent movies – Jack and Jill, Blended, Just go with it; these and more have given the distinct feel that Sandler and his entourage of mediocre comedians are simply delivering half hearted punch lines between their sips of champagne or, as The Do-Over likes to remind us, a cool, refreshing bottle of Corona.
Following the pathetic life of Charlie McMillian (David Spade), there was plenty of opportunity for an emphatic and entertaining story that would focus on his growth as an individual. Instead, the focus is quickly drawn to Sandlers Max Kessler, a truly detestable individual who believes a widow simply needs a “dick to cry on” and who puts his ‘friend’ in life threatening conditions whilst constantly lying to his face about who he truly is. However, the film expects us to sympathise with this man, to forgive all his wrong doings by giving him a heartfelt back story in a ‘twist’ that’s as obvious as the numerous other unexpected turns the plot takes. At no point do these twists have impact and they only serve to fulfil the paint by numbers ‘on the run’ story Sandler is going with, lacking any originality or visual appeal. Bar the two leads, no other character is given enough development for me to care about them, let alone poor Paula Patton who I hope fairs better in the just released Warcraft. Her beautiful widow is just a contrived plot device to serve whatever scene she features in, mainly as eye candy for our hapless Charlie whose heroic triumph in the finale is shown in his physical abuse of a woman which, despite being to protect his own life , is shown as more him standing up to womankind in general. Again, this seems more offensive than empowering.
I think I should address that the villainous scheme involves a cure for cancer, a move which doesn’t seem very politically correct with the high death rate due to this terrible affliction. The Do-Over seems to create an unbelievably perfect world where fraud is rewarded and no one has to worry about terminal illness all thanks to Sandler and co. I hope on his part that being responsible for curing cancer isn’t just ego stroking and he has reason behind it because otherwise I find it nearly as offensive as his approach to Native Americans in The Ridiculous 6. I could forgive all this if the film was genuinely funny but gags like the horrific sight of Luis Guzmans sweaty scrotum serve only to shock and disgust, laughs themselves are far and few between with a majority of the cast sleepwalking through the tired sex jokes we have seen a hundred times. I did chuckle a few times but it in no way salvages the long stretches of utter boredom.
The Do-Over is just another in a long string of Happy Madison productions that fail to entertain even on the most basic level; while not the worst in his library I still found myself baffled by the sheer dullness of the plot and humour.