Click is a typical Adam Sandler film in parts, but mostly it’s a heartwarming — or heartbreaking at times — drama that doesn’t dwell, focus on, or even include the toilet humor that Sandler films have come to be known for. Instead, it tells a story about a man who skips through a lot of his life so that he can learn lessons about how important family is and that you shouldn’t take your loved ones for granted.
This man is Michael Newman (Sandler), who we see is a hard working architect, often neglecting his family to focus on his job. His family consists of a wife (Kate Beckinsale) and two kids (Joseph Castanon and Tatum McCann). They love him but feel neglected. They also have a lot of television remotes. So many, in fact, that Michael decides one night to go out to the store and buy a universal remote so that he will stop turning on the fan when he wants to open the garage.
Seeing that the real electronics stores are closed, Michael heads to Bed Bath and Beyond, in hopes that they’ll have what he’s looking for. In a room in the back titled “Beyond”, he meets Morty (Christopher Walken), who has a remote for him. But instead of just controlling electronics, this remote can control everything. It truly is universal. It can turn the volume down when someone’s talking too loud, fast-forward an event that you don’t want to take part in, or, my favorite: It can bring up a TV screen wherever you want, so that you can watch the baseball game instead of, let’s say, arguing with your wife.
Morty warns Michael that the remote is self-programming, although what that means is only revealed later on in the film. He also mentions that the remote cannot be returned, but Michael just laughs. Why would you want to return something you’re being given for free? Sound logic if you ask me. Regardless, he gets the remote and starts using it. In fact, one might say he starts abusing it.
It begins with small things, like an argument or a boring dinner, but quickly moves into skipping hours at a time. Michael is in love with the device, but is soon learning that skipping large portions of his life are beginning to leave him out of the loop in terms of what’s going on with everyone’s lives. “Is this really worth it?”, he has to ask himself. It’s here, when the lessons start happening, and the film stops being comedic. That’s not to say it was laugh-out-loud hilarious to begin with, but there were a few chuckles here and there that kept me in a good mood.
Of the comedic moments, some worked and some failed really badly. Things that worked, like a moment that involved Michael chasing down some teenagers in a park, were great, and I laughed quite a lot at them. Moments that didn’t, however, often became running gags, like a dog that is constantly, let’s say “abusing” a stuffed duck. About half of the jokes worked, and they were the more subtle ones, or the ones where characters let their id shine through. But, like most Sandler films, the toilet humor, like when Sandler breaks wind in the face of his boss (David Hassellhoff), left me feeling disgusted rather than humored.
But the jokes almost completely stop at the 2/3 point of the film, where we get our message hammered home to us, and the film turns from a laughable, but forgettable, comedy into a sappy, tear-jerking drama. The shift in tone is a bit jarring, but not enough to actually make Click unwatchable or make you roll your eyes. Sure, you’ll notice it, but it’s executed in a way that will make you want to keep watching, even if there are tears running down your cheeks.
What I liked most about Click is how, depending on your upbringing, age and current status in life, you’ll get something unique from it. It’s not just about entertainment, although that’s probably what younger viewers will get, but instead about making you think about what’s important in life. If you’re someone who doesn’t spend a lot of time with family, you may reconsider that after watching these characters progress through decades of their own lives. If you do, then you’ll feel a pat on the back because you’re doing a good job already.
But regardless, you’ll still feel for the main character, Michael. Sure, he’s a bit of a jerk towards, well, everyone, but his heart is in the right place. There’s an off-handed mention that he wants to give his children the childhood that he never had, and I believe him. He’s a flawed character, that, like many people, gets addicted to something that starts to send his life in a downwards spiral. It’s a tragic story that only feels that way because of how great a character we’re dealing with here.
Click could have completely fallen apart if Michael hadn’t been played properly, and to say that this is one of Adam Sandler’s most impressive acting jobs isn’t an overstatement. He mixes comedy and drama well with his character, and he plays something different from the typical Sandler role. This is the kind of performance that Sandler needs to give more often, because it helps his films actually seem worth watching. The supporting cast, consisting of Beckinsale, Walken and Sean Astin is at least interesting enough and does a good job in contrasting with the flawed Michael.
Also worthy of praise are the makeup effects, which both physically transform characters, (Michael becomes quite large at one moment in the film), or is just used to make them look older. Instead of relying solely on CGI, the filmmakers decided to use makeup, and the result is something that looks more authentic. In an age where CGI is being used more and more for these types of things, it’s nice to see that makeup can do a good job too.
I was really taken by surprise at how much I liked Click. Maybe “like” isn’t the right word, because there are times when it is downright awful in terms of how it makes you feel, but it’s still a quality film, for the most part. I can see how the shift in town from light-hearted comedy to tear-jerking drama could turn off some people, but I thought it was nice to see Adam Sandler in a more serious role. And the message the film shows us is a good one, even if it’s a bit heavy-handed in delivering it to us at times.