Fantasy comedies like Click have the best opportunity in all of cinema to elicit the full range of emotions. They can make you laugh when they’re playing with the high concept device. They can make you cry when the cute device creates disastrous consequences. They can make you think about what you take for granted or the easy ways out you dream of and they can even scare you a little when they show how much power the fantasy has.
Click is a fantasy comedy in the tradition of Back to the Future or Groundhog Day. The greats like Back to the Future used time travel to make bad things worse before ultimately turning everyone’s life around. Groundhog Day milked every possible alternate of a crazy scene and still showed you that some things are certain.
So Click gives us the remote control that can control your life. But before we get there, of course we have to set up all the problems that he’s going to try to use the remote to fix. His boss demands too much, he hasn’t finished building his kids’ tree house, he gets stuck in traffic, he can’t communicate with his supportive wife, and he eats badly. Then his dog humps a stuffed duck. It’s still an Adam Sandler movie.
In the beginning, you’ll worry that the whole film is setting up a copout ending with an obvious shift into the fantasy world. That could piss you off early on, but I guess if it’s funny enough, you won’t be watching this for the plot structure. But the fantasy plot gets so profound that you do care if they follow through. In the end, they make it ambiguous enough to please the skeptics and definite enough to say, “Yeah, we went there.”
Though Click has fun with everything a remote control can do, the main theme is the fast forward button. Overworked Michael Newman (Sandler) tries to skip all the bad times to enjoy life, only he finds he misses too much. Once he gets late into his life, Click delivers profoundly emotional family moments amidst the hysterically clever fantasy gags. It could be a dangerous move, scaring off Sandler’s core fan base. But even if they don’t want to see him mourn his father, the scenes are still peppered with dick and fart jokes, plus Sandler in a fat suit.
Kate Beckinsale and Adam Sandler
Some critics may say that Sandler is no Olivier and asking him to play an aging family man is too much. I think a heavy dramatic actor would make it too overbearing (The Family Man anyone?). A comedian like Sandler can show that a real person hurts and though it’s not necessarily finely crafted, he deals as best he can. He had me sold and that’s how Click takes you on a whole lifetime’s journey.
I still wondered, why didn’t he just pause life, get all his work done, and then attend to his family? I guess the point was the remote only controlled the set path of his life. He couldn’t alter it.
I would like to see one of these workaholic movies where the guy just sits down and says, “Okay, we have two options. I would be happy to stay home more and hang out with you guys, as long as you’re okay with having a smaller house, never traveling and going to public school. That’s cool. And I’m also perfectly happy to work my ass off if we want to live a little more luxuriously. Your call.” That’s what I do.
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