The second of four films in the Adam Sandler Netflix era after the horrible The Ridiculous 6 is still pretty bad moviemaking, but The Do-Over is a step in the right direction.
Director Steven Brill made two of the better Sandler vehicles in Little Nicky and Mr. Deeds, and their third pairing has its moments. That’s thanks in large part to the pairing of Sandler and an effective David Spade, who is cast against type as Charlie, a nebbish nerd looking for new start on life. Sandler plays Max, who shows up at their high school reunion, takes pity on Charlie and fakes both of their deaths so they can smoke joints and drink for the rest of their lives.
The plot isn’t that simple; the two wind up being pursued by a killer in a fairly funny homage to Die Hard. The film is put together better than most of the later Sandler comedies, and it packs quite a few good laughs. Unfortunately, it also veers into overkill way too many times, and the gross stuff feels discordant and just wrong.
Still, I liked the characters, and the film classes up a bit at the halfway mark when Paula Patton enters the picture. She has a fight with Kathryn Hahn that is one of the better smack-downs you will see in a movie this summer.
The movie doesn’t work as a whole, but it does show that Sandler and Spade could be a good screen duo in the hands of a semi-capable director. Also, it has Natasha Leggero in it, and that’s always a good thing.
Had everybody just declined a few of the extreme sight gags, and perhaps edited a solid 15 minutes from the movie, I might’ve been able to recommend the film. As it stands, it’s a near-miss. Hey, a near-miss for Sandler these days is a major triumph!