*NEW* THE COBBLER REVIEW *NEW*

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What a load of cobblers. And that’s coming from a Sandler fan. Just when I thought he couldn’t sink any lower.

A cobbler (Adam Sandler), bored of his every-day life, stumbles upon a magical heirloom that allows him to become other people and see the world in a different way.

I have to agree with the fan who said that this was terrible. Even for a Sandler movie. Too many ideas. Failure to pick a tone and poor execution makes this one messy movie.

A dull and highly unfunny opener did nothing to get things going. It took a good 20 minutes before Sandler’s mopey shoe cobbler found the magical ‘stitcher’ that would put him on his journey to . . . God only knows what?

A film that grossed only $24,000 dollars at the US box office? You could blame poor distribution. BUT this was pretty bad.

Laughable for all the wrong reasons. I watched it to the end so it wasn’t as horrific as people made out. I was hardly pent up with rage or proclaiming the death of the film industry. So by that analogy . . .

The concept was intriguing on paper. To walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. BUT how could it go so wrong? It took too long to get to the shoe swapping and when it finally did, they really shouldn’t have bothered.

A scene that should have been an endearing moment between Max (Sandler) and his mother (Lynn Cohen – Hunger Games: Catching Fire) came off a little awkward, to say the least. Transforming into his father and taking her on one last “date”. Yikes. A little cringe-inducing. I could see what they were trying to do BUT the cuddling and closeness was just weird.

The same could be said for when he transformed into Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens. Close to pulling his girlfriend in the shower until he realised he had to keep the shoes on. The moral implications if Max had succeeded would have made this a different film altogether.

The only supporting character that stood out was Method Man as the typecast street thug. That really isn’t saying much. Steve Buscemi did his best with the role of the buddy barber next door BUT it was such a weak character. A revelation about him in the closing act came as no surprise. Or interest, for that matter.

With all the possible gags and directions this could have gone down, it still failed to reach any level of expectation. Sandler changes into a transsexual, a dead decaying customer and an overweight kid. Trust me, I’m making it sound better than it sounds (Or not). A hammy and uninteresting subplot with Melonie Diaz’s (Be Kind Rewind) protester brought nothing to the mix.

And when the shoe swapping and face changing finally got going, it was done so badly and clumsily. In a ploy to stop Ellen Barkin’s dreadful Russian Mafiosi disposing of unwanted tenants for property development, I struggled to keep up with who was who BUT most importantly by the end, I didn’t really care.

Dustin Hoffman delivered more charm and charisma in his highly unnecessary and disappointing cameo than Sandler did in the whole film. The last act showed a little of what I had expected from the get go. BUT alas, it was NOT to be.

Sandler’s works were never going to win plaudits BUT were generally easy going and funny affairs. His latest offerings have been lazy, sloppy and dreadful. Ironic that he picks a project penned by somebody else and it’s even worse.

A couple of chuckles and an intriguing premise. BUT a mish mesh of ideas with NO tone, direction or gags, well . . .  Sandler better put his best foot forward and move on from this mess. God have mercy on the writer’s soles.

1.5/5

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*NEW* HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 REVIEW *NEW*

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Drac and the pack are back. BUT better? There’s only one way to find out.

Dracula (Adam Sandler) and his friends try to bring out the monster in his half human, half vampire grandson in order to keep Mavis (Selena Gomez) from leaving the hotel.

Silly fun for the family. This latest offering from Sandler and co does just enough to keep the little ‘uns entertained for 90 minutes. Just don’t see it in 3D.

The 3D was a wasted gimmick (As opposed to any other movie?). I’m happy to recommend a 3D experience if I feel the price is right. Nothing really jumped out at you and it certainly didn’t justify the ticket price.

The ridiculously cheesy opening zipped along and was easygoing enough. The premise was hardly original. Predictable hokum as Drac’s obsessiveness soon gives Mavis doubts about raising Dennis in HT. Luckily that was all breezed over quite quickly for some more crazy shenanigans.

Drac recruits the gang to show off their abilities in one last ditch effort to inspire Dennis to unleash his inner vampire. The better gags definitely came when Sandler’s gang of goons were in play. Each one of them had their moment to shine. David Spade’s Invisible Man pretending to have a girlfriend. Steve Buscemi’s werewolf tennis instructor chasing every tennis ball. And yes! (Or should I say unfortunately) His insufferable horde of crazy cubs make a return.

Kevin James’ Frankenstein feebly attempting to scare people. The only fright being a bad selfie for a fan. Hell! Even Cee-Lo Green delivered with the Mummy’s dreadful sand storm summoning dance. We also had a new addition in the form of the gormless green goop appropriately named Blobby. A cross between Jabba the Hutt and Flubber.

I was surprised how little there was of Andy Samberg BUT then again, we did have his story in the first one. Selena Gomez certainly improved and got into the groove a lot more. I enjoyed her turn as Mavis this time round as the pair explored possible new homes. The gag involving the ‘intermonster’ couples living in Californian suburbia was unexpected BUT cleverly done. Especially when the community mistook one of their own for a monster.

There was enough craziness to keep things watchable. The politically friendly vampire camp sequence worked too well with its “Everyone’s a winner” mantra. It was also great to hear Mel Brooks voicing Drac’s dad Vlad (Unintentional rhyming there). Shame that he wasn’t as funny as I hoped. Rob Riggle stole the spotlight from the prolific comedian as his volatile partner in crime, Bela the gargoyle.

However, it wasn’t all perfect. The schmaltzy lesson learning along the way was a little too much for my cynical critic to take and hampered what had been a frenetic and watchable flick. And the length was far too short. A compliment and a flaw. More could have been made with the material. It felt like a feature length TV episode that rushed to its conclusion.

With the price of cinema tickets and Pixar movies raising the bar on story and substance, this fell short. BUT it still entertained and made for easy viewing. Fans of the original (which I preferred) will not be disappointed. I can think of worse ways to kill 90 minutes.

2.5/5