Inverse staffers hit the Netflix app for opening day of Adam Sandler’s first Netflix original film, Ridiculous 6, and had quite a mind-altering afternoon.
Winston Cook-Wilson: What a pleasure it is to spend an idle Friday watching a straight-to-Netflix Happy Madison Production. It’s important to specify that this is not just any Adam Sandler film — it marks a new stepping stone for him stylistically as well as platform-wise. Sandler’s never attempted full-on genre parody, but he’s getting in touch with his Mel Brooks-ian side in his new feature The Ridiculous 6.
As you watch this movie — which attempts to rival the length of its main spoof subject, Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, at a full two hours — you really begin to wonder why ‘Flix struck this misbegotten four-movie deal with Sandler, as it’s really unclear who the target audience for this is. But then again, you have to remember how extraordinarily profitable Sandler movies have been ever since they became a veritable genre: Last year’s Blended made $128 million on a $40 million budget, and this year’s action-comedy Pixels made a full $243.7 million on an $88 million budget.
But with Ridic 6, Sandler really seems to be trying, pulling out the stops in terms of uniting every friend he’s ever had, and some new faces — Taylor Lautner is the primary comic character in this film, as a boyish, “slack-jawed yokel” type who’s a “virgin, unless you count cantey-lopes!”. By the time you get to the third (or sixteenth act) of this film — in outline, a quest-style movie very much like your average Tarantino epic — you don’t even have time to react to the number of guests Sandler is packing in. Increasingly, they keep showing up as real-life historical figures, hanging out together for no reason.
The game-changing moment is when David Spade and Vanilla Ice arrive as General Custer and Mark Twain at a party at wealthy farmer Jon Lovitz’s house … and all this, just a scene after Chris Kattan is unveiled as John Wilkes Booth in a flashback.
The movie gets really dizzying at this point, and possesses a bit of the quality of the Insane Clown Posse’s original Western Big Money Rustlas. All this comes in a bit of a whirlwind after a veritably joke-less, occasionally sentimental and always racist exposition about Sandler’s backstory as a white orphan being raised by a tribe of Apaches.
Sean, how did Ridiculous 6 hit you, or perhaps more accurately, wash over you? I feel like one just has to let it happen to you, get in your pores a bit. At first, it’s super confusing, and then you start to realize the path you’re ambling down. Once Blake Shelton comes in as Wyatt Earp, though, the rulebook is out the window.
Sean Hutchinson: The Ridiculous 6 is like a tone poem. It’s like John Ford’s classic western sensibilities mixed with the deft auteur’s hand of a modern cinematic master like Terrence Malick.
Nah, I’m just kidding. This movie was terrible from the moment it started playing before my poor eyes. It made my Friday afternoon kind of miserable. The only time I actually laughed was when one of us freaked out since we couldn’t believe the types of scenes and exceedingly random cameos we were seeing: A donkey projectile shitting on Chris Parnell? Okay. John Turturro popping up as Abner Doubleday and inventing baseball by mistake? Yep. Chris Kattan murdering Abraham Lincoln. Sure, why not? If anything, the western genre exploration is an interesting new turn for Sandler, but it doesn’t get developed beyond being set in the old west.
Corban Goble: I loved how thinly applied the cameos were, like when Vanilla Ice just kept yelling SATIRE at people. Also, we were just working off a checklist: Steve Zahn, CHECK! Buscemi, CHECK! I like how Buscemi let Zahn be the googly-eyed guy this time; gotta have a googly-eyed guy.
SH: I think everybody knows what they’re getting themselves into when they intentionally login to Netflix to watch an Adam Sandler movie, especially a new Adam Sandler movie. Happy Gilmore is still legitimately funny, and maybe even The Waterboy. The Ridiculous 6 makes me rethink my childhood movie-watching habits.
Netflix now has the rights to four movies that people can put on and completely, 100 percent turn off their brain to watch while Sandler can continue his lazy schtick, except now he’s critic-proof and not beholden to box office numbers.
I hate to use Sandler’s own movie against him, but I’ll paraphrase a great scene from Billy Madison to tell him, “What you’ve just made is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever watched. At no point in its rambling, incoherent, two-hour (!!!) runtime was it even close to anything that could be considered a funny movie. We are now dumber for having watched it. I award you no stars for my Netflix rating, and may God have mercy on your soul.”
CG: I was thinking the possible argument you could make is that, oh man, Sandler really fell off when he wasn’t working with Tim Herlihy, his main co-writer at SNL and a creative partner in stuff like Billy Madison, but Tim Herlihy wrote this! So everyone’s content to be just a cartoon character of themselves at this point; after all, Blended destroyed at the box office.
QUICK ASIDE: My favorite bit of movie trivia involved Tamra Davis, who directed Billy Madison. She shared studio space with Basquiat in the ‘80s — that’s her behind the lens of the Basquiat doc Radiant Child — so in my mind this makes Billy Madison an art film. Also, Davis is married to Mike D of the Beastie Boys and now they renovate brownstones together.
WCW: Sean, I have to say that R6 is actually Breathless next to Real Rob.. Rob Schneider starring in two Netflix exclusives in two weeks? Rob Schneider is like paradise as a hideous racist Mexican caricature in Ridic 6 when compared with playing himself in RR. Here, he’s like a weirdly fleshed-out, sentimental character still milking the big-sombreroed goofball stereotype at every turn (staring in awe at the Wild Western landscape: “I wish there were taco trees here!”). This is true of a lot of the characters, whose race or appearance must be commented on within four or five lines of their appearance.
Here’s what I’ll say: There is sort of a lot of surprisingly committed acting in this movie, though the script they’re interpreting seems like it wasn’t edited. Probably the most notable and otherworldly performance, though, is Lautner. As Sean mentioned while we were watching, Robert Pattinson is probably somewhere helping David Cronenberg flesh out a script, and Lautner is wearing fake buck teeth, holding carrots over his dick and being fucked by a donkey in Adam Sandler’s new Netflix movie.
Ridiculous 6 is definitely a three-ring Sandler circus, far more ambitious than what I expected in terms of budget and scope.
SH: You’re a brave soul, Winston, for putting up with Real Rob. I’m not a masochist so I’ll skip that one.
But yeah, everyone is definitely committed to the movie for better or worse. Jorge Garcia puts in a surprisingly earnest performance as an obese fur trader that speaks in nothing but gibberish, but I can’t say the same for Lautner. He’s trying hard, but that doesn’t mean he should have tried in the first place.
Good for Sandler for getting paid. I cannot unsee this movie.