Running time: 119 minutes.
Zero stars out of four.
I’m gonna do away with this quickly, because why should I put more thought into “The Ridiculous 6” than the people who actually made it? That’s just nuts. But several of you guys asked whether I’d seen the latest Adam Sandler debacle, and so out of professional edification (if nothing else) I made myself hop on over to Netflix to stream it on Sunday night.
My husband and I cracked open a bottle of red wine in hopes that it would ease the suffering, but alas, it did not. He fell asleep next to me on the couch pretty quickly, but I take my job seriously, dammit, so not only did I force myself to stay awake the whole time, I also took notes. Actual notes! That’s dedication, people. They include phrases like “burro projectile shitting,” “Taylor Lautner fares better in ‘Grown Ups 2′” and “Steve Zahn eyeball scoop,” but there was indeed an attempt at offering some sort of substantive analysis. One can only do so much.
The mostly lazy “Ridiculous 6” may have more impressive production values than the average Sandler vehicle, and it feels less like a shameless vacation for himself and his friends than most of his movies do because it takes place in a remote, scrubby section of New Mexico. Several Native American cast members notoriously walked off the set in protest because they found the cliche-addled script so offensive. Truly, though, it would be news if a Sandler film didn’t offend somebody, at some point, on some level. The only difference this time is that he brings his brand of crass, puerile humor straight to television rather than theaters.
You can watch “The Ridiculous 6” whenever you’d like from the comfort of your own home. Lucky you.
Anyway, the film from frequent Sandler collaborator Frank Coraci (“The Wedding Singer,” “The Waterboy,” “Click”) is a Western, in theory, because it takes place in the American West and it’s a knock-off of “The Magnificent Seven.” Sandler stars as Tommy, who’s been raised by Native Americans under the name White Knife. He goes on a quest to rescue his estranged, bank-robber dad (Nick Nolte) from kidnappers and along the way runs into the random-idiot half-brothers he never knew he had: Ramon (Rob Schneider), Lil’ Pete (Lautner), Herm (Jorge Garcia), Chico (Terry Crews) and Danny (Luke Wilson).
Seems Dad got around, which brings us to a recurring and unpleasant theme: Except for White Knife’s fiancee (Julia Jones), whose name is Smoking Fox, all the women in this film are straight-up prostitutes or they’re just generally promiscuous and forward. (This includes Sandler’s real-life wife, Jackie, who has a brief supporting role as a flirty woman named Never Wears Bra. This is the level of humor you can expect in the script from Sandler and Tim Herlihy.)
The six of them team up to save their father and retrieve his hidden, pilfered fortune. It’s a journey that consists of a series of painfully unfunny gross-out gags and cliched cultural stereotypes, strung together with no sense of cohesion, timing or forward momentum but frequent bursts of explosive donkey diarrhea. “The Ridiculous 6” slogs along for two staggering hours but never really goes anywhere. If the humor were inappropriate but funny, it would be totally fine. But the jokes come in an overlong, tone-deaf litany, with Sandler at the helm phoning it in more than usual. Increasingly, he’s seemed bored in his own movies; here, he ostensibly can hide behind the stoicism of his character, but he just talks in a lifeless monotone. How can he possibly motivate others when he’s so obviously unmotivated himself?
Anyway, Vanilla Ice shows up as Mark Twain and Sandler regular Dan Patrick has a cameo as Abraham Lincoln. Neither casting choice is as amusing as it probably sounds in your own head. Among the other actors in the massive ensemble cast who could not possibly need work badly enough to say yes to this: Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Will Forte, Whitney Cummings, Zahn and Lautner. Hell, Blake Shelton is a brand unto himself, but for some reason he agreed to show up in one scene as Wyatt Earp. Additionally, the usual suspects abound: former “Saturday Night Live” pals David Spade, Jon Lovitz, Chris Parnell and Schneider and — of course — Nick Swardson.
At one point, several of these actors take part in a high-stakes poker game in which they talk about the significance of satire. Is that what they were going for here? Never would have guessed that amid the muck and stench of donkey feces.