Thursday, 22 June 2006


Click doesn't quite click, despite Sandler's pretensions to being Frank Capra

Aside from computer mice and their graphic representations as pointers on my computer screen, there aren’t any objects that you use to point and click. You can point and click with mice and mobile phones. However, the buttons on remote control are made of rubber; you don’t click with remote controls, unless it’s a special one with buttons taken from an old school calculator, the type with gigantic plastic buttons and an optional print-out receipt. Like its title, Adam Sandler’s latest movie is a confused mixed of imagery. Click does not click. Not even when David Hasselhoff, Henry Winker, and Kate Beckinsdale are roped in this time to fill out the movie as Sandler’s newest co-stars.

By now, you would have known from the trailer that Michael Newman, a frazzled architect on the verge of losing the fine balancing act between satisfying his slave driver boss (David Hasselhoff) and his family (helmed by a tolerable Kate Beckinsdale, who manages to channel Diane Keaton in her performance), chances upon a universal remote control with the power to remotely control his life during a shopping trip to Bed Bath & Beyond, an American domestic furniture chain store. Michael soon turns out that the trusty gadget has the power to slow down, fast forward, reverse and even skip any chapters of his life that he chooses, and uses the device in several sketches that may amuse the audience in the first half of the movie - until he decides to use the remote to fast forward to his promotion.

As eccentric tech support guy Morty (played with reckless abandon by Christopher Walken) puts it when he gives Michael the remote, good guys deserve a break sometimes, but there’s always the danger of getting what one wishes for. After a dizzying rundown of classic Sandler bad taste gags (fat people jokes, speedo jokes, gay jokes, fart jokes, cruelty to young children jokes, and dog humping jokes), the movie negotiates a sharp turn into melodrama and schtick, and showcases Sandler’s potential as a dramatic actor. You can almost hear the screech of the wheels on the tarmac as Click careens into the celluloid desolation known as “the moralising, heart-warming tale”.

If the first half of Click plays like a lowbrow Bruce Almighty, with Adam Sandler as a mean-spirited version of Robin Wiliams in RV, armed with a remote control that enables him to turn his life into Pleasantville, the second half is a spiritual successor to Mister Destiny, It’s a Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Carol.

The second half of Click aims squarely at the emotional points of the audience, along with their tear ducts and sentimentality bones. Small wonder why the first half feels like a throwaway section, a product of self-indulgent Saturday Night Live scriptwriters more interested in mass producing every gag they could think of involving a remote control. Then, there are more signs of poor scriptwriting: Sandler’s illustrious co-stars aren’t given much to do with their roles, leaving him quite unable to deliver what any audience expects of a dramatic leading man in a melodramatic and sentimental movie. It’s definitely not a case of miscasting, since we have seen Sandler deliver as a dramatic actor in Spanglish and Punch-Drunk Crazy, both written by people who aren’t tainted by the SNL connection.

In the hands of more competent writers, Click would’ve been a homage rivalling the sentimentality and power of Capra, Belushi, and Dickens. Instead with lazy writing there is no way Click can live up to the potential of its concepts.

First published at incinemas on 3 August 2006

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