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CLICK

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Adam Sandler, Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken, David Hasselhoff, Sean Astin, Henry Winkler, Julie Kavner
Director:  Frank Coraci
Audio:  Dolby Digital 5.1
Video:  Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio:  Sony
Features:  See Review
Length:  107 Minutes
Release Date:  October 10, 2006

“Once again, Michael left Donna in bed, confused and unsatisfied.”

“Shut up, James Earl Jones!”

“No, YOU shut up, big mouth!”

Film **

Talk about a movie with an identity crisis.  The first 15 minutes of Click made me howl with laughter.  So did the last 10.  In between, I was more depressed than I could possibly describe.

Adam Sandler is a favorite of mine, and has proven himself capable of delivering both terrific comedy and great drama with his body of work.  He really just needed to decide on one or the other here.  It started off with all the ingredients for an uproarious tale, but ended up a most somber treatise on the way most of us live our lives.  Why would the filmmakers want to make us think about how much of our time we waste on meaningless endeavors while we’re spending a couple of hours in front of a goofy movie?

Sandler plays Michael Newman, an architect and father, most of the time in that order.  He has a terrific wife Donna (Beckinsale) and a pair of great kids, but he spends most of his time focused on his work and his boss (a hilarious Hasselhoff).  Poor Michael is the kind of guy always thinking about the life he wants to have while missing the one he’s been given.

All that changes when he meets Morty (the diabolical Walken), who offers him an unusual gift:  a universal remote.  And by that, he means a remote that Michael can use to control HIS universe.  Fight with the wife?  Simply fast forward through it.  Boring conversation?  Use picture-in-picture to catch a ball game.  Noisy dog?  Turn down the volume.  And so on.

There are plenty of clever ideas to explore with such a concept, and Sandler and company hit on a few of them.  The remote even lays out a menu of his life like a DVD selection screen.  There’s even a making-of that shows…well, you can probably figure that one out.  Heck, there’s even a commentary track…a very funny idea that should have been used a little more.

But the humor is kind of short-lived.  What Michael realizes too late is that by fast-forwarding through what he considers the ‘boring’ parts of life, he ended up missing a lot of what makes life wonderful.  Soon he can’t even control it anymore, as the remote takes him further and further along, stopping only long enough for Michael to realize what he missed out on and what he can’t possibly make up for now.

Sound like a comedy?  I was dumbfounded.  The message is a true one, and probably one many of us could benefit from thinking about.  But what happened to the good times and fun promised by the trailer?  If I wanted a sobering look at life, death and family, I would have put on Cries and Whispers.  Sandler is good enough to make the material work, but it’s material for another movie. 

The sad fact is, when you go into a movie wanting to laugh and end up feeling depressed, somebody screwed up.  Life doesn’t have a fast forward button.  Thankfully, DVD players do.

Video ****

This is a knockout anamorphic transfer from Sony.  Sharp, crystal clear, and very film-like, the images pop off the screen with detail and integrity, and colors are superb and natural looking throughout.  In both light and dark scenes, no grain or compression is evident.  Highest marks.

Audio ***

Many Adam Sandler movies have great song scores of classic tunes from the 70s and 80s, and Click is no exception.  Apart from the music, spoken words are clearly rendered and there is plenty of dynamic range amidst the mayhem, with occasional good use of the surround speakers for added effect.

Features ***1/2

Navigating through the cool menu screens, you’ll find the extras kick off with a commentary track by Sandler, Coraci, executive producer Tim Herlihy and writer Steve Koren.  There are featurettes on the fat suit, the make-up effects, the special effects, the production design, the ‘cars of the future’, and Coraci himself.  Rounding out are some deleted scenes.

Summary:

Click is either a comedy struggling to break out of the body of a drama or the other way around.  It’s a little of everything and too much of nothing.  You’ll have a few laughs, but not enough to take the bad taste out of your mouth.  A shame, because there was a lot of potential here that just got skipped over like chapter stops.

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