|Average User Score||6.9|
|Average Gross (U.S. only)||$77.6M|
Maturity is not a concept that's often associated with Adam Sandler. Unsurprisingly, then, the ironically titled Grown Ups doesn't require the actor-comedian to take on a role he hasn't already played a dozen times. Instead, the new comedy (in theaters this week) finds Sandler reuniting with childhood friends -- played by fellow comedians Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, and David Spade -- for a weekend of juvenile fun at a lake house.
Of course, the few times where Sandler has stretched his limits in the past have resulted in the best reviews of his film career. And good reviews have been hard to come by for the one-time stand-up comedian, Cosby Show guest star, and Saturday Night Live cast member. Since launching his film career in earnest with 1995's Billy Madison, Sandler has starred in 20 films, almost all of them mass-appeal comedies. His film career peaked in the late 1990s with enjoyable comedies such as The Wedding Singer, and major box office hits like Big Daddy and The Waterboy. But only a pair of departures for the actor -- the unusual comedy Punch-Drunk Love and the post-9/11 drama Reign Over Me -- have earned positive reviews from critics, with another mostly dramatic role (in Judd Apatow's Funny People) coming close.
Mitigating the negative reviews to a large extent has been Sandler's appeal at the box office; the actor's films have collectively earned nearly $2.5 billion worldwide. But, as you can see from the table below, the new Grown Ups comes at a time when Sandler's box office appeal seems to be slipping; his past five years have not been especially fruitful.
|Year||Title||Metascore||Users||Opening Weekend / Domestic Gross *|
|1994||Airheads||n/a||n/a||$3.6M / 10.9|
|1994||Mixed Nuts||14||6.4||4.4 / 12.7|
|1995||Billy Madison||16||8.7||12.1 / 46.8|
|1996||Happy Gilmore||31||9.0||15.3 / 69.8|
|1996||Bulletproof||n/a||n/a||10.8 / 38.8|
|1998||The Wedding Singer||59||8.2||32.0 / 136.0|
|1998||The Waterboy||41||9.2||66.8 / 272.0|
|1999||Big Daddy||41||8.0||65.0 / 255.8|
|2000||Little Nicky||38||6.7||23.7 / 58.2|
|2002||Mr. Deeds||24||6.3||50.9 / 172.8|
|2002||Punch-Drunk Love **||78||6.0||** / 24.4|
|2002||Eight Crazy Nights||23||6.5||12.9 / 32.3|
|2003||Anger Management||52||6.1||55.7 / 178.8|
|2004||50 First Dates||48||7.3||51.0 / 154.8|
|2004||Spanglish||48||6.7||11.3 / 54.0|
|2005||The Longest Yard||48||6.3||59.0 / 196.1|
|2006||Click||45||7.1||48.6 / 166.7|
|2007||Reign Over Me||61||8.2||8.6 / 22.7|
|2007||I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry||37||5.2||39.6 / 138.7|
|2008||You Don't Mess with the Zohan||54||5.4||42.7 / 110.7|
|2008||Bedtime Stories||33||4.3||30.4 / 121.9|
|2009||Funny People||60||6.5||24.1 / 55.3|
|2010||Grown Ups||Opens June 25, 2010|
How bad are they?
Make no mistake: many of Sandler's comedies -- especially his earlier ones -- have a lot of fans, for good reason: there are a lot of laughs to be had in many of them. (Maybe not so many in his recent releases, which even Metacritic users haven't liked.) But critics have never taken to his work on the big screen. And it's not necessarily a case of not being offered the right material; many of Sandler's films were written by the comedian himself. In fact, the average Metascore for the seven films on which Sandler is a credited writer is 35, eight points lower than the actor's overall average. So perhaps he is better off with less control over a project. (Warning sign: he co-wrote Grown Ups, and the early reviews are not good.)
More evidence: Sandler's production comedy, Happy Madison Productions, also has a poor record with critics for films not starring Sandler (think gems like Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo 30, Joe Dirt 20, The Hot Chick 29, and The Master of Disguise 12). Overall, Happy Madison films -- including most of Sandler's own comedies since 2000 -- also have an average Metascore of 35, though there have been a few box office successes like Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
Below, we look at some of Sandler's best and worst films in greater detail.
|"The film is exhilarating to watch because Sandler, liberated from the constraints of formula, reveals unexpected depths as an actor."
-- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
|When does Adam Sandler as a dorky man-child qualify as him playing against type? When the role is created by Paul Thomas Anderson. As the awkward and obsessive loner Barry Egan, Sandler showcases a darker side while inhabiting his most fully developed and intriguing character yet, helping to make this quirky, funny, and violent love story a success -- at least with critics, and fans of Anderson's films. Sandler followers expecting one of his typically broad comedies, on the other hand, didn't know what to make of it, and the film was a financial failure.|
|Adam Sandler's first feature film isn't in our database, but if IMDb users have voted it the 53rd worst film of all time, who are we to argue? (And, to answer your next question, no, there aren't any other Adam Sandler movies ranked even lower.) Filmed well before Sandler's SNL days, the low-rent "comedy" Overboard finds the actor repeatedly -- and annoyingly -- addressing the camera as Schecky Moskowitz, a would-be stand-up who works as a cruise ship waiter. What little plot there is must compete with frequent interruptions from fantasy sequences, while terrible acting, direction, and dialogue mean that it's tough to stomach more than a few minutes of the film.|
|"The cast ... inspires good will whenever possible. But in the case of Adam Sandler, it's out of the question. Mr. Sandler dresses as a gondolier, plays the ukulele and sings stupid little nonsense songs in an irritating falsetto. If you didn't know this was part of his established shtick on 'Saturday Night Live,' you might think 'Mixed Nuts' was simply crazy. "
-- Janet Maslin, The New York Times
|Certainly not writer-director Nora Ephron's finest hour, Mixed Nuts -- a joyless, tiresome remake of a 1982 French comedy -- finds Sandler playing a ukulele-strumming songwriter in an ensemble of dysfunctional characters brought together one Christmas Eve. Sandler is at his most annoying here, but he's certainly not alone; Madeline Kahn may be the worst culprit, but stars from Steve Martin to Juliette Lewis seem to sink to the level of the sub-par material.|
|"Adam Sandler's creative songs and silly expressions on 'Saturday Night Live' may have turned him into a celebrity, but this movie based solely on his antics doesn't work."
-- David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
|Sandler's first major starring role came in this vehicle, which cast the comedian as a 28-year-old slacker forced to repeat grades 1-12 in order to convince his hotel magnate father that he is worthy of running the family business. The comedy was panned by critics as mindless and immature upon its release -- and barely eked out a profit at the box office -- but has developed a cult following among Sandler fans in the years since its release. In fact, it's hard to find a bigger disconnect between user and critic scores.|
|4||Eight Crazy Nights||2002||23||6.5|
|"In this vile contribution to the animated holiday genre, Sandler proves himself once again determined to get rich by setting the bar just a little bit lower each time out."
-- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
|On one hand, Sandler's attempt to add a Hanukkah film to Hollywood's tradition of holiday-themed movies is admirable. On the other hand, there are few reasons to celebrate Eight Crazy Nights. While this animated musical did include a new version of the comedian's hit "The Chanukah Song," the film was mean-spirited and crude, and few if any of its other songs will ever be considered holiday classics.|
|"It's not just that the movie itself is wicked awful, it's that Mr. Deeds brings out the worst in Adam Sandler."
-- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
|An unnecessary, dumbed-down remake of Frank Capra's 1936 film Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, this comedy remains one of Sandler's better-performing releases despite its lousy reviews. This fish-out-of-water story casts a relatively low-key Sandler as an unlikely heir to a multi-billion-dollar fortune, a role first played (to greater success) by Gary Cooper. While Sandler is likeable enough in the film, the few laughs present are mostly generated by the supporting characters (including a memorable turn by John Turturro).|
What do you think?
Which Adam Sandler films are among your favorites or least favorites? Do you have high hopes for Grown Ups? Let us know in the comments section below.