You can’t even be mad at Adam Sandler anymore. If he’s not trying to break out of his comfort zone, all we can really do is watch the slow painful death of his career, while he brings Netflix down with him. Sandler silently stumbles in to “The Ridiculous 6” with an obvious bored, half asleep performance, and leaves the film with a cool pay day and the hope that at least one or two of his remaining fans will love what he’s put out in the form of this hideous western comedy that doesn’t even try to re-invent the wheel. Netflix doesn’t seem to be demanding much from Sandler, so it’s apparent here that Sandler isn’t even working toward offering nothing we haven’t already seen in the last fifteen years ad nauseum. Almost like a contractual obligation, “The Ridiculous 6” is a greatest hits compilation of no brainer Sandler tropes that fill up the required two hour run time.
There’s the vast array of racial stereotypes, Sandler’s character is a man child with daddy issues. He is impossibly married to a gorgeous woman, Sandler’s friends all appear (including early day and latter day Happy Madison players). Sandler, of course, enlists the help from his long out of work SNL alum (Chris Kattan? Haven’t seen him in a while), he garners the help of Rob Schneider who once again plays a racial stereotype, there is a ton of black humor that falls flat, there’s at least one or two attempts at gross out humor, and the new one: Sandler surrounds himself with a lot of funnier more talented people who carry the comic weight for Sandler, who doesn’t even seem to try to be remotely wacky anymore. Sandler is essentially a straight man given one or two brief wacky moments, while folks like Terry Crews, Luke Wilson, Jorge Garcia, Harvey Keitel, and even Taylor Lautner steal all of the laughs from our star.
Yes, Taylor Lautner is funnier in an Adam Sandler vehicle, than Adam Sandler. If that’s not enough the script isn’t so much a narrative as it is a wide and tedious arc of comedy sketches, all of which are disconnected and painfully unfunny. One scene involves the Ridiculous 6 singing a rousing song around a camp fire, cut to the morning where (in a scene that lasts at least twenty minutes) they’re literally taught the game of baseball by Abner Doubleday, if for no other reason than to give John Turturro something to do. As for the gross racism and stereotypes, it’s pretty much par for the course with Sandler at this point. There are endless stereotypes about Native Americans with no comic effect. The Native American women are gorgeous and used as sexual objects, they have names like “Wears No Bra,” and “Beaver Breath,” while Sandler walks around with a spray tan and dons a terrible Native American accent.
Hanger on Schneider continues his campaign of racist caricatures, playing a Mexican whose burro sprays diarrhea as a weapon, and never stops talking about how he loves Tacos. He even sings a song called “Under the Taco Tree.” The script oddly enough never has the balls to mock African Americans. Maybe it’s because co-star Crews is a friend, or because Crews would have likely walked off the project, too. 2015 was a very active year for Sandler and Happy Madison, and it’s a year filled with nothing but embarrassing duds from a man whose contemporaries like Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen are at least trying to grow as performers. Sandler seems very at home in the same old act he’s been giving us since “The Waterboy,” and he doesn’t seem anxious to try anything new, any time soon. I know comedy is subjective, but to the small base that still find these kinds of movies funny, can you please try to help me understand the appeal?