Unrated but contains graphic language, sex, nudity, violence and drug use throughout.
Running time: 108 minutes.
One half star out of four.
So I actually made myself watch “The Do-Over” for a What the Flick?! review and I actually took notes because I’m a professional, dammit, so I figured, what the hell? Maybe I should write a little review, too, just for posterity — even though it feels a bit like beating a dead horse at this point. Nevertheless, here it is.
“The Do-Over” is typical Adam Sandler fare in every way, from the raunchy humor to the inclusion of his buddies to the deplorable view of women to the vacation disguised as a movie shoot to the forced sentimentality in the final act. It’s the latest in Sandler’s four-film deal with Netflix, which also brought us “The Ridiculous Six,” which earned a zero-star review from me last year. (Not that receiving critical praise is high among Sandler’s priorities.)
This time, Sandler stars as Max, who meets up with his childhood buddy, Charlie (David Spade), at their 25th high school reunion. While the swaggering Max seems to have gone onto a life of adventure (or so he says), the milquetoast Charlie has stayed in town, in the same house with the same job. Only now he’s married to the woman who was his high school crush: the trashy, scantily-clad Nikki (Natasha Leggero), who uses the occasion of the reunion to cavort drunkenly on the dance floor with her obnoxious ex (Sean Astin), the father of her bratty twin sons.
Do you see a theme emerging here? Everyone in “The Do-Over” is abhorent. And director Steven Brill (“Little Nicky,” “Mr. Deeds”), working from a script by Kevin Barnett and Chris Pappas, expects us to spend nearly two hours with these people.
But Max has an idea that will improve Charlie’s life and his own at the same time: They’ll fake their deaths. First, though, they party on a yacht and persuade the bikini-clad MILFs on a nearby boat to flash their boobs; the “payoff” of that joke is that Max shoots a flare gun at the ladies when they laugh at Charlie’s meager junk in response. Hilarious!
Max’s boat, by the way, is called the “Fish ‘n’ Chicks.” And it contains a Bud Light Party Ball. We know this because even before Charlie steps aboard, he sees the Bud Light Party Ball and exclaims: “That’s not a Bud Light Party Ball?!” (Later, they will order Jameson’s at a biker bar, just to mix things up.) Product placement is, sadly, pretty standard in movies these days, but Sandler tends to take it to an egregious extreme.
Then again, that’s keeping with his usual theme of using production as vacation. This time, the destination is Puerto Rico. After faking their deaths, Max and Charlie find a key that leads to a safe deposit box filled with cash, which leads to a mansion and a Ferrari on the scenic territory. There, they get shot at a lot in an elaborate case of mistaken identity, but Charlie also gets to engage in a three-way with Catherine Bell and Luis Guzman, who drips ball sweat on his face.
I will say, though — and this is why “The Do-Over” gets a half-star as opposed to zero — that eventually, it’s actually trying to be about something. It’s about finding a cure for cancer. No, really. I’m not saying the movie is successful in being about something. But the sentiment it aims to achieve feels vaguely less wedged-in than it does in most Sandler movies. Sandler himself looks less bored this time than he has recently. He might even be trying to act, an effort he seems to have abandoned since … oh, maybe “Funny People” back in 2009.
Paula Patton doesn’t fare quite so well, despite her efforts and her usual charisma, as the widow of a doctor caught up in Max and Charlie’s scheme. She’s basically called upon to look sexy, which culminates with her character taking part in a slow-motion girl fight with Kathryn Hahn’s to Madonna’s “Crazy for You.” Between this and “Warcraft,” Patton needs to have a serious talk with her agent.
She also must suffer the indignity of having Spade’s character beat the crap out of her for laughs: “I’m so tired of women lying to me and fucking me over!” he cries as he’s punching her in the stomach. But that’s basically the thrust of most recent Sandler movies: The only people you can trust are your bros.