Dugan directed Sandler in Happy Gilmore before reuniting with the actor for Big Daddy, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Grown Ups, You Don’t Mess With Zohan, Jack and Jill, and Grown Ups 2. In other words, he’s been hearing all the awful stuff critics have been saying about his films with Sandler for years. He’s garnered quite a bit of animosity, and in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter for the anniversary of Problem Child, he let some of it out.
In response to Sandler’s haters, he said,
I don't give a fuck what [critics] think. I give a fuck that almost every one of my movies opens up number one and makes a giant profit for the studio, and people buy them, rent them, quote them and have a good time seeing them. ... How fucking dare anybody say that he's a shitty [entertainer].
As Ron Burgundy would say, "Well, that escalated quickly." Dugan is understandably frustrated by the growing tide of opposition because, at the end of the day, it’s his films that we’re talking about, too. However, it’s difficult to make the argument that Sandler isn’t "a shitty entertainer," given the overwhelming amount of disappointment. To Dugan’s point, some of his movies did make enough money to somehow warrant sequels and keep him in a job. But that doesn’t necessarily speak to the quality of his films. McDonald’s is a widely successful fast food chain enjoyed by billions of people around the world. That doesn’t mean it’s any good for you.
It also doesn’t help Adam Sandler’s case that he basically admitted to Jimmy Kimmel during an interview for Blended that he basically chooses his film projects based on where he wants to travel. He wanted to go to Hawaii, so he pitched that 50 First Dates be set there. He wanted to go to Africa, so he made Blended. Whether or not this was meant as a joke, it certainly didn’t help his cause.
Though Dugan didn’t direct Pixels — that unfortunate title belongs to Harry Potter helmer Chris Columbus — it’s the latest blunder from Mr. Happy Gilmore. Variety called it a "dimwitted ‘80s nostalgia trip," The New York Post said "you get the feeling the boys spent the nine-figure budget on trips to Hooters," and Rolling Stone called it "relentless and exhausting." Not what you would call glowing.