Because I see hundreds of films a year in this line of work and because I feel like I know how to calibrate my expectations appropriately and because my personal Expectation Meter has a special "Already Dead Inside" setting, I knew exactly how to adjust it for this, the latest upping of the ante in Adam Sandler's career-long cinematic dare.
If you've seen the trailer then you know what's happening here. He plays his own fraternal twin sister. She's clueless and obnoxious. This makes him angry. She visits for Thanksgiving, stays through Hanukkah and beyond. This makes him angrier. But what seems to make him the angriest is how she constantly confronts him with a nightmare vision of own face as female. In other words, this is actually an art film about the construction of gender roles and male sexual anxiety and -- just kidding. This movie is about farts. And the importance of family. And more farts.
But there is, as usual, a lot to think about here. Obviously, as producer of all his own films, Sandler is in on the un-joke. But the mystery remains whether he's the real-life version of the cynical comic he plays in Funny People, cranking out conceptual garbage-movies like Mer-Man and Re-Do and realizing that it all helped give him cancer, or if he's Tracy Morgan on 30 Rock, simply grateful to be making a career out of Who Dat Ninja and Honky Grandma Be Trippin'?
But that's just stuff to fill your mind during the most horrible moments on display in this movie. And what those moments are is your call. For me, it's not the farts or the humiliation or the slapstick mayhem or when Al Pacino -- as himself -- is amorously pursuing Adam Sandler in drag that mangle my soul. When an Adam Sandler movie is at its most frenziedly stupid, that's when an Adam Sandler is most what it's supposed to be, sort of like when Martin Lawrence dances around as Big Momma or one of the Wayans brothers turns into a toddler or when Tyler Perry puts on a wig, pulls a gun out of his old-lady purse and pistol whips a sassmouth 10-year-old. That's when I'm laughing.
The particular agony of this movie is the same indulgence in fake family warmth and understanding that helped turn Adam Sandler's magic-remote-control-that-speeds-up-time film Click into the torture device it was. I don't need lessons in how to be a normal human being with loving emotions that I direct toward my family and friends. I know how to do that already. What I need is a tutorial in how to look idiotic as my own gross identical twin sister. And Sandler doesn't know how to get his go-to director, Dennis Dugan, to make that loving-family stuff look real anyway. That's when I'm not laughing.
So please, Adam Sandler, go with your strengths from this point forward. You know what they are and they don't involve extended hugs. You don't have to prove that you're human. We know that you kinda-sorta are. We trust that. Your talent is making us laugh at poop, kicks in the crotch, ugly people and offensive racial stereotypes. It's your own special brand of witlessness. It is objectively terrible, yes, but we laugh anyway and give you money and that's a scenario we can all agree on, everybody losing and winning at the same time.