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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Click

Click, from 2006, is one of those films that take a pretty good premise and ride it to death, without fleshing it out and making it into something that transcends the concept.

Adam Sandler stars as an overworked architect who struggles between finding time for his family and trying to get ahead at his firm, which is run by a ball-buster. When he wanders into a Bed, Bath and Beyond in search of a universal remote control, he ends up in a back room (labeled "Beyond") and finds a mad scientist-type who sells him a hot new gadget. Soon Sandler realizes the gizmo can stop time, or more intriguingly, allow him to fast forward through the unpleasant periods in his life. In true Twilight Zone fashion, he realizes that it's not always good to get what you want.

To the extent that Click sporadically succeeds is due to Sandler, who brings a diffident charm to the proceedings, almost as if he realizes it's kind of stupid and is sharing the joke with the audience. Some of his lines seem like ad libs, and I would imagine that his commentary (I didn't bother to watch it again to find out) was more entertaining.

Another plus to the film is Christopher Walken as Morty, the mad scientist. As usual, Walken improves any film he is in, with his offbeat line deliveries and seeming barely contained sanity. The cast is also full of TV personalities such as David Hasselhoff as the boss, and Henry Winkler and Julie Kavner as Sandler's parents. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Makeup Effects, with the estimable Rick Baker in charge. There is a lot of makeup involved, but not all of it worked. Making Sandler old and grossly fat is one thing, but trying to make Winkler and Kavner look younger was a disastrous failure--they looked as if they had been made up by a mortician.

The direction is by Frank Coraci, a Sandler crony, and has little style or flair, resembling an extended sit-com. The script, aside from Sandler's witticisms, is a hash of mawkish sentimentality, mostly battering home the "stop and smell the roses" moral. For a more daring look at what a man can do given the ability to stop time, read Nicholson Baker's The Fermata. It's hot stuff!

Of course I saw this because Kate Beckinsale is in it, playing Sandler's put upon wife. It's a thankless role--she mainly has to look harried and hot at the same time, and she does so admirably.

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