The Do-Over: Maybe It’s Time to Give Adam Sandler Another Chance [Review]

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From Netflix, Happy Madison Productions and director Steven Brill (Mr. Deeds, Little Nicky) comes the action comedy The Do-Over. Starring Adam Sandler, David Spade, Paula Patton, Sean Astin, Kathryn Hahn and Torsten Voges, the film is now streaming exclusively on Netflix. 

Two down-on-their-luck guys decide to fake their own deaths and start over with new identities, only to find the people they’re pretending to be are in even deeper trouble.

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Look. Everyone knows that Adam Sandler wore out his welcome years ago. Fans fondly remember the good ol’ days when we had Happy Gimore and Billy Madison – along with a slew of classic comedy albums… It feels like we’ve all written him off unless he’s doing more dramatic work like in Punchdrunk Love. Well, maybe it’s time to give Sandler another chance… His second effort since signing a mega deal with Netflix to produce original films for the service – The Do-Over – is a return to form for the comedic icon and I don’t know if it was just because the movie wasn’t total shit, or if it really was that funny, but Sandler is back! So I’ll take it for what it’s worth.

The R-Rated, vulgar and shockingly heart-warming The Do-Over is Sandler and longtime collaborator David Spade at their best. I realize this crew of guys are likely just making movies at this point in their lives as an excuse to travel to exotic locations, but this flick turned out alright. Spade’s character is at a high-school reunion watching his wife get boned on the dancefloor by her ex – played by Sean Astin. His life is a disaster, his step-children blast his crotch with a super-soaker and make him drive back to the restaurant because they forgot fortune cookes. Also – his wife is a total bitch. After meeting his childhood friend Max (Sandler) at the reunion, the two catch up and go on a fishing trip to escape from the horrible throes of Spade’s brutal reality as a bank manager in a grocery store.

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The chemistry between these two is legit and it makes sense considering they’ve known each other since their days at Saturday Night Live, so it’s nice when fans get to see that in The Do-Over. After faking their deaths, they wind up assuming the identities of two guys that are in some serious shit and of course end up in a load of trouble with the law and shady criminal organizations. The action scenes are great – I do wish there had been a few more of them however, because it was kinda nice seeing Sandler shooting dudes with a gun – it fits him for some reason and I could see the guy in more action flicks down the road.

The cameos are always a nice touch in a Happy Madison effort but I don’t know why we needed to see the back of Luis Guzman’s balls during a cringe-worthy three-way with Spade. But hey – it’s Guzman – and I like the guy. It’s the occasional gross-out gags like this that remind me I’m still watching a current era Sandler movie, but I can take the good with the bad. Seeing Michael Chiklis pop up for no reason was fun – because Chiklis is good even when he has no reason to be there. Nick Swardson’s recurring gag of getting punished was probably my favorite of these physical bits.

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The Do-Over works because at it’s core, there’s heart. Sure there’s a scene where Sandler is sucking a huge biker dude’s finger and simulating oral sex, but there are also several dramatic moments that wound up working. Is the plotline that revolves around these moments of sincerity absolutely absurd? Sure it is – absolutely ridiculous – but it also sets The Do-Over apart from movies like The Ridiculous Six, or Jack and Jill – that kinda stupid bullshit. The Do-Over isn’t a masterpiece and it probably isn’t even the movie that will resurrect legitimacy to Sandler’s long storied career, but it was at least funny for a change and I can accept that.

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