“I’m so tired of my life,” whines Michael (Adam Sandler) as he crashes onto a bed in Bed, Bath & Beyond. It’s easy to see why it's such a burden: he's a healthy, successful architect with a sexy, caring wife (Kate Beckinsale) and two adorable children, living in a spacious house sitting in a safe neighborhood. Let’s take a moment of silence to mourn the man’s trials and tribulations.
Click is the story of an unhappy guy in desperate need of a George Bailey epiphany or a slap upside the head—whichever comes first. While wandering into the ‘Beyond’ section of the home-furnishings store, he meets a wacky Nutty Professor type named Morty (Christopher Walken) who holds the cure to all of his problems: a universal remote control that not only dictates electronic devices, but also his life. When Michael goes home he discovers that he can fast forward fights with his wife, watch a big-breasted woman jog in slow-motion, and lower the volume on his barking dog.
Since this is a lowbrow Adam Sandler comedy, the remote control is generally used as a guide to revel in immaturity. He hits the pause button on his smarmy boss (David Hasselhoff) to fart several times in his face, and gets revenge on a speedo-wearing coach (Sean Astin) by kicking him squarely in the nuts. In response to his strange behavior, his young daughter asks in nauseatingly scripted-fashion, “Did you smoke crack today, daddy?” By the fifth time the dog is shown humping a stuffed toy, it is clear the movie is headed for amateur night at the local comedy club.
When Michael’s remote begins to recognize patterns and do things automatically, Click gets serious. The trouble really hits when he speeds through time to land a big promotion, and loses months and then years while stuck on “auto-pilot”. Suddenly, Michael’s life is horribly depressing and he realizes that gosh, maybe his perfect existence wasn’t such a bummer after all; cue the feel-good music. While Click has good intentions, it never feels convincing or true-to-life. Without an emotional connection, it is just a wannabe Hallmark finale tacked onto an episode of “Jackass”.
Thank goodness for a great performance by an under-used Christopher Walken, an amusing scene involving a DVD commentary track by James Earl Jones, and a sweet turn by comedy legends Henry Winkler and Julie Kavner as beloved parents. Without these saving graces, absolutely nothing clicks. Director Frank Coraci (The Wedding Singer) re-teams with longtime friend Sandler, and writers Steve Koren & Mark O’Keefe (Bruce Almighty) admit that the jokes came easily to them (which explains why few are funny) and that they struggled more with the emotional journey (which explains why it’s a mess). Unfortunately with Click, Sandler has taken about three leaps backwards from Punch Drunk Love and 50 First Dates. Where’s a new Hanukah song when you really need one?