Netflix’s business is built on knowing its audience, and their instincts were right on the money when they opted not to let critics see Adam Sandler’s “The Ridiculous 6” before it hit the streaming service at midnight last night. Sandler’s movie, the first of four to be made for Netflix, encountered controversy before it was even completed when several Native American extras walked off the set of his (allegedly) comic Western, claiming its script was littered with racist gags. According to the reviews, that’s remained true of the finished product, in which one character refers to a Native woman as “Poca-hot-tits.” (Her “real” name is Smoking Fox, which isn’t much better.) Critics seem unsure whether that’s more offensive than “The Ridiculous 6’s” reliance on jokes about incontinent burros and a rapping Mark Twain played by Vanilla Ice, its wasting of great actors like Steve Buscemi and Harvey Keitel in painfully underwritten parts (hope those checks cleared, fellas), or its unsightly and half-hearted attempts to emulate the look of a classic Westerns. (Oh, for the classical virtues of Seth MacFarlane’s “A Million Ways to Die in the West.”) It sounds, all in all, like an excruciating two-hour watch — barely shorter, in fact, than the real “The Magnificent Seven.” But critics’ loss is our gain. The reviews are scathing and often hilarious, likely providing more laughs than Sandler’s comedy itself.
Reviews of “The Ridiculous 6”
Justin Chang, Variety
Why pay Sandler’s idiot shenanigans the compliment of anger? There’s nothing here so inspired as to warrant the audience’s contempt, much less its surprise. Viewers who gladly endured “Pixels” may well revel in the sight of the star giving another of his patented non-performances, and those who saw “Big Daddy” and “That’s My Boy” will hardly be shocked to see him once again knee-deep in daddy issues. In what probably counts as multitasking for all involved, “The Ridiculous 6” manages to be not just a pitiful excuse for a comedy but also a pitiful excuse for a male weepie. And as the over-active father at the heart of it all, the gravel-voiced Nolte shows up most of his co-stars by playing his part with so much wily conviction, you’d almost swear he were acting in an actual movie. Still, the MVP here is undoubtedly Ramon’s donkey, who gives 110% whether he’s fellating Lautner on screen (someone’s clearly on Team Jacob), or standing perfectly still while Steve Buscemi rubs ointment inside the beast’s rectum. Which, incidentally, would make a far more appropriate destination for “The Ridiculous 6” than your Netflix queue.
Nick Schager, The Playlist
Humor is murdered over the course of 119 deathly minutes by Adam Sandler in “The Ridiculous 6,” a Western spoof that, like its protagonist’s feats of magical heroism, is best described as “some mystical shit.” Mired in pre-release controversy over its supposedly offensive characterizations of Native Americans – which drove some extras to abandon the project – Sandler’s first of four exclusive features for Netflix turns out to be distasteful in every regard, an abysmal riff on “The Magnificent Seven” in which hoary stereotypes and oater clichés are exploited for equally groan-worthy gags. Without an amusing instinct in its cowboy-hatted head, this painfully protracted, puerile effort meanders about the Old West as if it were making up its nonsense on the fly. The result is a torturous genre joke that marks a new low not only for the star, but for the art of cinematic comedy. Native American women possess names such as “Wears No Bra,” “Smoking Fox,” and “Beaver Breath,” Ramon talks about the deliciousness of tacos, and white people are ridiculed for being bad dancers — Sandler and co-writer Tim Herlihy’s script performs cultural mockery with all the incisive skill of a blind surgeon wielding a hammer.
Keith Uhlich, Hollywood Reporter
Strange to accuse a film of indifference when it features a Native American character named Beaver Breath, as well as a scene in which guest star Steve Buscemi (in one of the movie’s many check-cleared-yet? cameos) lubes up the anus of an incontinent burrow. But everything and everyone follows Sandler’s lead: As adopted Indian warrior White Knife, he walks around with the same detached, hangdog expression that suggests he’s eyeing the brewski and easy chair just off-camera. His character lives a relatively peaceful existence with his adopted family and soon-to-be-wife Smoking Fox (Julia Jones), though he often thinks back to the time when a mysterious bandit murdered his mother in cold blood. Then a career bank robber, and White Knife’s long-lost father, Frank Stockburn (a mopey Nick Nolte, who seems to think he’s doing Eugene O’Neill) rides into his life with a story to tell.
Nick De Semlyen, Empire
Female Apache characters are called Smoking Fox, Never Wears Bra and, um, Beaver Breath. The pun “Poca-hot-tits” is deployed. There are wince-inducing jokes about peace pipes and wigwams, while Sandler, who spends the first stretch of the film dressed up as an “Injun” himself, is imbued with magical powers he’s learned from the tribe. But other ethnicities won’t feel left out — Rob Schneider plays a stupid Mexican whose best friend is a diarrhea-spraying donkey. We have the feeling Donald Trump has already added “The Ridiculous 6” to his Netflix To Watch list. Netflix have clearly given Sandler and director Frank Coraci (“Blended,” Zookeeper”) a budget at least as generous as those they’ve been accustomed to. There are Monument Valley vistas and cameos from the likes of Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi. But the latter, as a barber with a disgustingly all-purpose cream, provides oases of humour in a desert that’s otherwise largely arid. As for the novel release platform? The bad news: the experience of watching “The Ridiculous 6” feels akin to streaming an especially lengthy box set. The good news: you can schedule as many “Hateful Eight”-style intermissions as you like.
Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
To say that Sandler and Tim Herlihy’s script is “episodic” would be an understatement. It’s a series of scenes only loosely connected by cast and location. I’ve seen episodes of “Saturday Night Live” in which the sketches seemed more of a single piece than parts of this film. One minute, they’re learning how to play baseball from John Turturro; another minute they’re playing poker with Vanilla Ice, David Spade and Blake Shelton. It’s like someone put ideas for Western-themed sketch comedy on a board and then Sandler threw darts at it to determine its order. The film has no flow, no rhythm, and absolutely no reason to be 119 minutes. And then there’s the broad racism and misogyny of the piece. After the controversial walk-offs, Netflix claimed that this was “satire.” It’s not. There’s nothing satirical about Sandler’s bad Native American accent (which totally comes and goes, by the way) or Schneider’s Hispanic caricature. Saying that this is satire is like the drunk guy at the bar telling you how many black friends he has after telling a racist joke. Don’t fall for it.
Charles Bramseco, Uproxx
Defined by the insubstantial amateurishness most frequently found on low-level Vine accounts, “The Ridiculous Six” practically erases the memory of the A-list Adam Sandler who starred in widely beloved, reliably bankable comedies. Everyone involved — and the count of actors too good for what’s taking place onscreen occupies both hands — takes on the appearance of a fading star desperately clinging to the last vestiges of receding fame by taking whatever work he can, even though the likes of Terry Crews and Taylor Lautner are currently enjoying the prime of their careers back in the land of the living. The performances, the script, the primitive CGI, it’s all half-assed. And what’s worse, that ass-half belongs to a donkey taking a big ol’ turd on the august Western genre, which would be a needlessly vulgar figure of speech if this film didn’t go out of its way to include so many jokes involving donkey excrement.
Deborah Day, The Wrap
That Vanilla Ice–here playing a rap-poser Mark Twain and delivering lines like “Oh, snap, you got the drop on Wyatt Earp?”–is the comic relief in your comedy should be a clue that your shit is tired. “The Ridiculous 6” is everything wrong with Hollywood for the past two decades: a circle-jerk of imbecilic white-dude humor. That the coterie of guys responsible for “Click,” “Blended,” “The Waterboy” and their like continue making these films is a travesty. Fortunately, it serves the purpose of being example A of why the Hollywood machine needs more diverse voices greenlighting, writing and producing content, as well as acting in and directing it.
Peter DiDonato, Moviepilot
What could possibly be said about Adam Sandler’s recent live-action efforts that hasn’t already been said? The product placement is over-the-top, the toilet humor is juvenile, and there seems to be practically no effort put into their screenplays. All of these can be applied to “The Ridiculous Six,” but somehow it’s even worse than all of Sander’s “efforts” combined. It may even be worse than “Jack and Jill” and “Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star.” Dumb comedy can work if it’s done right. “Dumb and Dumber” worked because the characters had their own distinct personalities and goals. They were relatable, connecting to our inner dumb sides with lively personalities and well-timed jokes. “The Ridiculous Six,” however, is so lazy in it’s execution, that its just boring to sit through. As a matter of fact, the biggest problem I had with this film is that it’s just boring. When the jokes aren’t horrendously juvenile grossout gags like donkey diarrhea or someone trying to gouge their own eye out, they just fall flat. In one scene, White Knife throws a knife into a water jug. Nick Nolte’s character knocks the knife out, and White Knife throws the knife into the same hole to plug it up. So what’s the joke? Is it that White Knife is skilled with a knife? Because that isn’t a joke.
Matt Pais, RedEye
Sandler’s films love disrespecting everyone who’s not him. In this one, a pathetically generic, not-at-all-satirical Western that also includes a joke about “Home Alone,” Sandler plays White Knife. He’s a white man raised in the Apache community who’s engaged to a woman named Smoking Fox (Julia Jones) and the target of the affections of Never Wears Bra (who’s not identified on IMDB, so I don’t know who plays her), as Sandler’s characters always have to be studs. When the dad (Nick Nolte) he thought was dead returns to claim that he’s dying and wants to give White Knife (whose birth name was Tommy) his buried fortune but then gets kidnapped, Tommy W.K. winds up collecting an absurd collection of men (including Rob Schneider as a Mexican stereotype named Ramon Lopez) who turn out to be his half-brothers to rescue dad and make it back in time for his wedding. ‘Cause Sandler’s never ended a movie with a wedding before.
William Bibbiani, Crave Online
“The Ridiculous 6” is a hapless jumble of decent craftsmanship, confused writing, terrible jokes and casual mean-spirited jabs at every culture imaginable. And none of the action, the drama, or (with a careful application of quotation marks) “cultural commentary” serves any greater purpose than the burro’s projectile diarrhea does. It’s actually rather amazing that Adam Sandler’s transition to straight-to-streaming content resulted in no change, positive or negative, to his usual brand of cinema. Maybe this is why critics have been so hard on his last ten years worth of live-action comedies: they feel more at home on video, where standards have traditionally been lower, than they do in the theater. Maybe this transition really is an improvement. At least on Netflix you’ll be able to turn the movie off without running up the stairs and strangling a projectionist.