Jamie Neish: Sandler needs new lease of life

Adam Sandler. Picture: AP

Adam Sandler. Picture: AP

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SNL alum Adam Sandler was once a powerful moneymaker. His films in the late 90s and early 00s were consistent box office winners, even if they didn’t strike a chord with critics.

Hired in 1990 for SNL, Sandler became a permanent fixture for five years of the late night comedy sketch show, before he was abruptly fired alongside fellow comedian Chris Farley.

From there, he went from hit film to fit film. Billy Madison came first, followed in quick succession by Happy Gilmour, The Wedding Singer and The Waterboy.

None of the aforementioned titles ever won him absolute raves from critics, but he was beloved by audiences and was a bankable star according to studio executives.

He briefly sidestepped out-and-out comedy in 2002 to star in Punch-Drunk Love, where he delivered a quiet performance as a troubled man urged into a romance.

That film, directed by famed director Paul Thomas Anderson, proved that there was more to him than fart jokes and physical comedy.

His dramatic streak was temporarily paused for starring roles in Big Daddy, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.

He returned to dramatics for Funny People, which saw him team up with producer and director Judd Apatow for a funny, yet tender cancer comedy.

Since then, however, his luck has run out and his films have been a steady stream of flops and misfires, except for the Grown Ups films, which are terrible by anyone’s standards.

Jack & Jill, Zookeeper, Blended, That’s My Boy and most recently Pixels, which opened in second place at the US box office last weekend, are a few of the recent crop.

It’s understandable that Sandler’s schtick may be wearing thin on audiences. He’s been doing the same thing since he started out, and he’s outgrown that kind of comedy.

He needs to change with the times, and that’s hopefully what his new deal with Netflix will bring if he has any chance of remaining relevant.