An Illusion Review by Joan Ellis

                Movielovers will quickly forget the summer of ’06.  The good films can be counted on one hand:  The Devil Wears Prada, Prairie Home Companion, and Wordplay Other than these, the Multiplexes offer next to nothing.  It is the summer of Meryl Streep, in itself a reason for celebration.  There are many disappointments – Superman – and there are a few genuine insults that involve the unforgivable thumbing of the Hollywood nose at hopeful audiences.  Take, for instance, “Click.”            

Adam Sandler is a one-note bad song.  He continues to play one version or another of the kind of idiot adolescent who exists, it seems, mainly in the minds of writers who believe the public is fascinated by grown men who act like boys we never knew.  In “Click,” Sandler plays Michael Newman, an architect.  Strike one:  Mr. Sandler is not credible as an architect even in the wildest of dreams.  After a few minutes of showing us how frantic his life is, Michael wanders in to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, where he moans, “I’m so tired of my life” and flops into a deep sleep on the display bed under a sign that announces, appropriately, “Beyond.”  Strike two:  dream devices are old, done, kaput.  May they vanish forever.

                Venturing through the enticing door, Michael meets Morty (Christopher Walken), a mad scientist who has invented the device that might, in better hands, have been the premise for a good movie.  It’s a nice idea:  a universal remote.  First things first with Michael.  He uses his new instrument to deal with his family.  Wife Donna (Kate Beckinsale), children, and parents (Henry Winkler and Julie Kavner) are a weakly drawn lot of suburban stereotypes, so we hardly blame Michael when he fast forwards through an argument with Donna and mutes his parents and a barking dog.   

                On rewind, a childhood bully is such an outsized caricature that he becomes the exclamation mark to the insult this movie really is.  Missing the chance to use the remote to explore the general dysfunction of suburbia, the movie splashes around in trivia until the device goes on automatic fast forward.  It is then that the inevitable losses pile up leading to an ending coated with so much sugar that even the most cynical may have to fight just one tear in the eye.  But fight it you must as a protest against this kind of cheesy manipulation. 

The insult is all the greater because the scene is photographed beautifully.  The moral, of course, is that when you press the remote to skip the bad times, you lose the present.  Adam Sandler is not the right man to remind us that living for the moment is our mandate.  Just think what he might have done with the magical remote:  Mute the noise of war, Rewind to a peaceful day, Rewrite history, break the Fast Forward button, click Pause and stare at the toxic culture soaking up our energies.  Strike three:  we’re all out.

Copyright (c) Illusion

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