June 25, 2006

Movie Review: Click

Based around a potentially ingenius high concept, Click offers sporadic amounts of funny, liberal doses of mean spirit, a sickly sweet aftertaste, and more than passing resemblance to A Christmas Carol. Marketed as a straight up comedy, this is anything but. It has a few laugh out loud moments, but the gimmick runs its course early making the film seem unnaturally stretched out with filler.

Adam Sandler stars as Michael Newman, an architect who seems to be more in love with his work than with his family. He works, and he works, and he works some more, constantly putting off spending time with his wife and kids, despite their desperation for his attention. During one inicident involving, what else, a multitude of remote controls, Michael makes a late night trip to simplify his life by acquiring a remote control. As fate would have it, he only finds Bed, Bath, and Beyond open, this leads him past the vast aisles for bed and bath until he discovers the beyond down a long dark hallway. At the end of the hall he meets Morty, played with wit by Christopher Walken, who takes him to the way beyond where he has a truly universal remote.

The funny is exhibited as Michael discovers the variety of ways he can employ the universal functions. He finds he can lower his dog's bark, play with his own hues, mute or dub uninteresting conversations, and fast forward through fights with the wife. We also witness something of a feud between him and his neighbors, which has a decidedly mean spirited bend to it. That is something that I found rather off putting. A lot of the jokes and such were very mean and cruel, which, at times, just sucked the funny right out of them. When the sweet natured emotional part of the film came it was almost a case of too little too late.

Newman finds that his life is passing him by at an ever quickening pace, thanks to the remote control programming itself to his desires. It is interersting to note that his life may have been headed in that direction even without the remote. How often do we find ourselves, in reality, tuning out what we don't want to hear? Michael Newman's life could be any number of us. Despite Michael's claims otherwise, this is the path down which he was already heading, going into auto pilot through the difficult times.

The concept of the remote could have opened up interesting existential parables, but it is reduced as the plot device on which to drape cruel jokes in an all too linear, and ultimatley predictable fashion. Sure, there are some cool visuals with him being taken off to the "main menu" of his life where he could relive moments of the past, including the "making of," but this is so much fluff as the story barrels forward toward its climax. The only question I had was what mechanism would be used to change it, and we all know that something was going to change. I won't give it away, but my reaction was "You've got to be kidding me."

Sandler is alright, although I would have liked to have seen a little less of the mean streak in the character. His wife is played by Kate Beckinsale, stepping away from the tight leather that has dominated her recent filmography. Sadly, she is not given much to do, besides look absolutely gorgeous in every single frame of film that she occupies, I mean it, she is stunning. Christopher Walken as the mysterious Morty is as entertaining as ever, he seems to have built his career on playing this bizarre, quirky characters. David Hasselhoff is Sandler's boss, a womanizer who doesn't appear to have a single brain cell in his head, but that's management for you! Rounding out the supporting cast are Henry Winkler and Julie Kavner as Sandler's parents, and Sean Astin as the swim coach and future love interest.

Bottonline. In the end, the story does not live up to the concept. It has its moments of hilarity, even if some are played to there death (see the stuffed duck), it has some surprisingly touching moments, and it has Kate Beckinsale, so the movie is not a complete loss, but it is not nearly as good as it could have been.

Mildly Recommended.
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