The trailer for Happy Madison and Netflix’s latest cinematic dumpster fire, ‘The Do-Over,’ was released today, and plot details are straight out of the Adam Sandler screenplay generator: Max, a cool guy in cargo shorts (Sandler) teaches Charlie, an uptight loser with glasses (David Spade), how to loosen up. They go on vacation, they fake their own deaths, women can’t WAIT to sleep with them, etc. But near the end of the trailer, something a little different happens.
Starting around 2:04 in the trailer above, Max tells Charlie that he went to police academy, and Charlie asks why he’s not a cop. “I didn’t fare too well on the psychological exam,” Max replies. To underline this fact, there’s a cut to Charlie driving a car, and then Max reaches over from the passenger side to grab the wheel and swerve it into a female pedestrian. Charlie is horrified (“What the f—!”), but Max lets out that trademark Sandler chortle.
In case the above didn’t sink in: Adam Sandler hits a random woman with a car, then he — and by proxy, the audience — laughs hysterically. There’s no joke. There’s nothing more to it. That’s it.
In a year where bold women are making great comedy — Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, Amy Schumer, Mindy Kaling, and Lena Dunham, just to name a few — why does Sandler think assault is the best way to get a laugh from an actress? At this year’s Oscars, Lady Gaga sang the powerful sexual assault awareness anthem “Til It Happens To You” and brought the audience to tears. That’s how we started this year in film. Less than two months later, we get Sandler giggling at attempted vehicular manslaughter.
Look — Indiewire isn’t predisposed to love Sandler’s oeuvre. (That may be the first and last time those two words appear together.) But performances in “Punch-Drunk Love” and “Funny People” show he can be a nuanced, interesting artist when he feels like it. That, along with the fact that he has a devoted wife and two beautiful daughters in real life, makes it incomprehensible why hitting a woman would be such a gas.
Adam turns 50 this year. At this point, he could find other ways to earn a cheap laugh.
For what it’s worth, “The Do-Over” hits Netflix on May 27th.