Oh, Adam Sandler. I loved you as “Opera Man.” I crooned along to “Lunch Lady Land” and “The Hanukkah Song.” I even bought your first album, “They’re All Gonna Laugh at You”…on cassette, in 1993. I endured your ho-hum frat-guy movies like “Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore.” I rooted for you with comebacks like “Punch-Drunk Love,” when you really showed your talent.
But what is going on with this Netflix deal? You’ve agreed to an eight-picture situation, which has so far included mediocre outings like “The Ridiculous 6,” a Western with, well, Rob Schneider. Which is really the only punch line in the movie, according to basically every review.
Now there’s “The Week Of,” with your old “SNL” cohort, Chris Rock. This film drove my husband and two children to flee the room within five minutes. If you enjoy ongoing jokes about disabled old men masquerading as war veterans, vague cultural stereotypes, a Billy Joel soundtrack and lots of high-pitched screeching, this is the movie for you. If not, well, you might suffer as I did.
Sandler plays Kenny Lustig, a blue-collar Long Islander married to Debbie, Lexington’s very own Rachel Dratch. His daughter, Sarah, is engaged to the son of Kirby (Rock), a wealthy and Lothario-like Los Angeles cardiologist. I don’t even remember the son’s name. He barely registers. There’s absolutely no reason why these two people should have ever met, let alone fallen in love, decided to get married and inflict this horrible tale upon us.
Kenny insists on paying for the wedding, even though slick Kirby can definitely afford it. But, surprise, surprise, things go horribly wrong. He offers to put Kirby’s visiting family into a budget motel with faulty chandeliers and ceilings that leak brown goo. Eventually, everyone has to stay at his cramped house instead. This is when hilarity is supposed to ensue.
The Lustigs communicate in high-pitched whines. Debbie’s main instinct is anxiety, and she’s forever asking Kirby about the contents of her medicine cabinet and the ingredients in her shampoo. Meanwhile, Seymour Lustig, the oldest living Lustig, makes the scene. Except he has no legs! This is a never-ending gag. He’s toted to a tux shop, a Little League game and even tossed into a ball pit at a bachelor party (where he meets his untimely demise). People sidle up to the crotchety old geezer and thank him for his service in World War II, even offering him a free wedding tux and letting him throw out the first pitch at the game. He’s old, right? He must have gotten his legs blown off somewhere, naturally.
But no! He lost his legs due to diabetes. But Kenny Lustig can’t bear to fess up and forgo this special treatment. There’s even a scene where the sex-crazed Kirby sleepily massages his knees, thinking he’s a potential paramour, but then wakes up to realize that he’s cuddled next to a 90-year-old man. Yeah. It’s bad. Meanwhile, Steve Buscemi is woefully underused as a slimy, thin-mustached, booze-swilling cousin. Occasionally an appropriate Billy Joel ballad plays in the background, making things all the more depressing.
Sandler and Rock appear pained throughout, and they should be. Sandler at least tries to muddle through his lines, playing the role of schlubby, put-upon everyman, a Jewish Ray Romano, with something resembling duty. Rock looks like he’d rather be attacked by bats, which is actually something that happens in this movie. Dratch does what she can, but her role is reduced to a charmless (safe! non-toxic!) elixir of hypochondria and shrill nagging.
There’s also an overweight best friend; a surly vegetarian sister-in-law; an old auntie who mishears everything; and a motel handyman who can’t speak English.
No, this is not “The Wedding Singer.”
Bottom line: Even listening to “Food Innuendo Guy” on cassette is preferable to sitting through this two-hour disaster.