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Tired sight gags only part of what doesn't 'Click'

By Mark Moorehead

June 24, 2006

General Audiences: C+

Great premise: What if you could use your TV universal remote to control your universe. Our imaginations swim with ideas. Adam Sandler experiments with the possibilities with mixed results. Lots of laughs in the beginning, but soon bathroom humor overkill and 11th hour sentimentality ends the fun.

Family Audiences: Not appropriate

Although rated PG-13 for language, crude and sex-related humor, and some drug references, the ratings folks often exaggerate undesirable content. Not in this case. When a seven-year-old boy swears like a drunken sailor and his six-year-old sister asks dad if he’s doing drugs while the family dog is having its way with a stuffed toy for the umpteenth time in the background, PG-13 doesn’t look strong enough.


When it comes to the target audience, the trailers for Click are deceptive. They’re designed to appeal to children based on a comical out-take from the film involving two boys ages seven and 10 playing catch.

You may have seen the sketch. The older boy is an obnoxious bully ridiculing the younger one for constantly dropping the ball. Using a magical TV remote, Michael Newman (Adam Sandler) hits “pause,” which freezes the ball in mid-air, then lowers the baseball glove on the naughty boy and hits “pause” again.

Predictably the ball strikes the bully in the face. Kids who see this trailer laugh out loud and can’t wait to see the movie. Problem is, this is definitely not family fare.

In spite of the presence of two very young and endearing children (Joseph Castanon and Tatum McCann), who comprise architect Michael Newman’s nuclear family, college-age audiences are the real target audience for the crude, sophomoric humor that permeates this film.

Those tired sight gags involving big breasts, flatulence and dogs doing stereotypical dog things stand in (poorly, I should add) for original humor. They appear to be lifted wholesale from recent films like Meet the Folkers and Benchwarmers.

At least the writers in Meet the Folkers were kind enough to limit screen time to just to one dog  procreation scene. In Click we’re subjected to 10 such episodes.

Fortunately, there is a plot that ties familiar bathroom humor together. Michael Newman is a brilliant mild-mannered architect married to the beautiful and sexy Donna (Kate Beckinsale). They have two wonderful and witty children. Unfortunately for the wife and kids, Michael is an ambitious, workaholic father with little time for the family.

In one scene, after staying up all night to work, a tired Michael becomes frustrated because he can’t figure out which of his assortment of gadgets will turn on the TV set. He jumps in the car and prowls the nearby retail chain stores in search of a universal remote.

Instead of choosing the more promising Circuit City store, he strolls into Bed, Bath & Beyond and enters a door at the back that reads “Beyond.” There he meets Mort (Christopher Walken), an eccentric employee repairman, who gives him an unusual remote device with the power to send  its user back into the past, forward into the future or simply to freeze the present.

Michael takes the thing home and begins experimenting with its magical powers, discovering that it will allow him to silence his barking dog, fast forward through arguments with his wife or bypass traffic on the way to work.

Everything he perceives as unpleasant, including massage as an integral part of sex with his wife, is simply eliminated by a click of the remote. This selfish sap is so fast on the trigger (the TV remote, that is) that he leaves his wife repeatedly unsatisfied.

Predictably, of course, the remote starts doing things Michael doesn’t want it to do, like racing forward in time 10 years at a pop. Michael takes the device back to Mort, however is told it is non-returnable and can’t be destroyed.

Click starts out as a comedy for the first hour, sustaining our interest with the intriguing premise of going back to one's past or doing naughty things in the present to people we don’t like. Sadly, the second half begins to run out of good ideas and suddenly transforms into a seriously sentimental montage evoking memories of It’s A Wonderful Life.

At this point the laughter subsides, doom and gloom set in and you’re left wondering what's the moral of the story.

Second thought: I went to see this film for a good laugh, not moral inspiration. Who cares what the moral is. At the beginning of the second half of Click I should have hit fast forward on my own remote and left it while I was still laughing.


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