The common argument nowadays is that Adam Sandler follows his past formula too closely. The comedic formula he championed in films like "Happy Gilmore" and "Big Daddy" has become bland in newer films such as "Grown Ups 2" and the horrid "Jack and Jill." Most critics suggest that he try new things, work for different directors, and focus on acting instead of having complete control over his films. I mostly agree with this, but with "The Cobbler," Sandler has followed all of these suggestions and still failed to hit the mark.
"The Cobbler," directed by Thomas McCarthy, follows Max, a shoemaker and repairman (hence the title) who lives a boring and undesirable life until he finds an old spinning machine with a special quality. When Max wears shoes that he repairs with the machine, he takes on the physical identity of the owners of the shoes. Sounds interesting, right? Unfortunately, the idea is not well executed and the plot seems like a mindless wonder for a very long hour and a half.
The plot here is practically non-existent. We watch Max parade around as other people for most of the film, then McCarthy attempts to create a storyline, involving gangsters and crooked rich people, in the last thirty minutes. Unfortunately, he tries too hard and it occurs too little too late. The film is promoted as a comedy, but I can't recall chuckling or finding any part of the film humorous at all. The film starts as an attempt of a drama, then becomes a fantasy, then a caper/crime film, and then finally (and you won't believe it) a superhero film. The film does not know where it wants to go, probably because it does not seem to be going anywhere.
The topic on everybody's mind with the release of this film is simple: how is Adam Sandler? Well, he is not "bad" by any means. It seems as though he was trying to recreate his brilliant performance in "Punch-Drunk Love," but he cannot seem to find the same conviction in this one. His performance seems real for the most part, but there are often moments when he looks just as bored as I was. It's hard to blame him too much with the content he was given--his character is pretty hard to like for most of the picture--but the film would benefit from a little more energy in his performance.
Dustin Hoffman recently stated that film is the worst it has ever been at this moment. Whether he is right is debatable, but I can understand how he feels this way after starring in one of the worst films of recent memory. Of course, he is not to blame, and this time, neither is Sandler. What floors me is how a director like McCarthy, who has been so highly praised after his first few pictures, can deliver a film like this. The premise caught my interest, but the product failed to deliver. To be frankly honest, "The Cobbler" is a narrative mess.
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