TV Review - The Do-Over

This is the second movie to be released by Netflix under its deal with Happy Madison Productions, the company owned or controlled by former Saturday Night Live member, Adam Sandler. It follows Sandler's western spoof last year, The Ridiculous Six. Given the basic structure, this movie could be similarly titled "The Ridiculous Two." It's a loosely-stitched together adventure with breaks every now and then for comedic bits of toilet humor or sex. It's not dissimilar to another Netflix comedy recently, Pee-wee's Big Holiday.

David Spade (Just Shoot Me! and Rules of Engagement) stars as Charlie McMillan, a bank manager inside a grocery store who is a self-proclaimed loser. He's quite nebbish. He's married to a woman who treats him awfully or with no respect. Her children by another man also treat him awfully or with absolutely no respect. He's also a bit of a sad sack who doesn't stand up for himself and is resigned not to change or step outside his bounds.

Adam Sandler co-stars as Max Kessler, the exact opposite. He's cool. He's smooth. He's suave. He stands up for himself and isn't afraid to fight or at least defend himself. He's certainly not afraid to be bold, sexual and in-your-face. This time around, it seems as if Sandler is trying. His character in The Ridiculous Six was just a cipher who got to do action scenes fighting or shooting guns. Here, his character is more like his character in Funny People (2009), a good guy but a bit of a jerk.

Max attends his high school reunion and reconnects with Charlie, as they were friends back in the day who lost touch. Max immediately takes it upon himself to push Charlie to come out his shell and be riskier or a bit braver. Eventually, Max pushes Charlie so far that they end up involved in a murder mystery. It's a goofy, murder mystery.

Directed by Steven Brill, and written by Kevin Barnett and Chris Pappas, this movie lets you know that the tone is goofy and there is no real danger. You're supposed to embrace the silliness of the action immediately and know the characters aren't in peril and will make it to the end.

All you have is to enjoy the execution of that action. There are some laughable moments that are few and far between. Yet, in general, the action is pretty tame and not silly or goofy enough. The comedy in general is pretty tame. A lot of it doesn't even seem like well-constructed jokes. A lot of it seems like Sandler just riffing on set, making a lot up as he goes.

What happens is that Barnett and Pappas spend so much of the screenplay constructing the murder mystery and the truth about it, they forget to construct jokes. Again, like Netflix's Pee-wee's Big Holiday, the protagonists just go from place-to-place meeting quirky person after quirky person.

Paula Patton (Precious) plays Heather Fishman, the wife of the murdered man who tags along with Max and Charlie to solve the mystery. It's good that the movie gives her something somewhat interesting to do. She gets to be funny, silly, sexy and even sinister. She's better in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, but score one here for diversity.

Along the same line, the movie incorporates some gay characters. I don't think the filmmakers are homophobic, but it should be noted that the only characters who die are the gay characters. There is a scene where a straight character, played by Michael Chiklis, gets shot at multiple times at close range. He's seemingly dead, but the movie lets him live. Yet, a gay character is shot at one-time from a far range and he immediately dies.

It's not blatant but it does send the message that heterosexuals are strong enough or good-enough to live, but the homosexuals aren't, so they die. It's probably not the filmmakers' intent to portray or convey that message. Yet, it's de facto what happens.

Two Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-MA.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 48 mins.


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