Adam Sandler doesn't typically do science fiction. The weirdest thing in his movies is supposed to be him, not some futuristic macguffin. It's an approach that's worked in everything from The Waterboy to Uncut Gems (there's no debating that Howie Ratner is a weird dude), but in 2006, Sandler gave sci-fi a shot, and the results were... mixed.
Written by Steve Koren and Mark O'Keefe (the team behind Bruce Almighty) and sold to Sony in 2003 with every intention of becoming the next big Adam Sandler vehicle, Click fell short of those expectations. The movie, about a magic remote control that lets you pause, rewind, and fast-forward the real world, released in 2006 to harsh reviews. It failed to dominate the box office but eventually grossed just over $240 million for Sony (not too shabby for a film with a 34% on Rotten Tomatoes).
It's easy to read these numbers and come to a simple conclusion: Click is a bad movie that succeeded thanks to the then-waining star power of its lead actor (plus performances from Kate Beckinsale, Henry Winkler, Christopher Walken, David Hasselhoff, and a young Jonah Hill).
But the truth is, Click is actually one of Sandler's weirder and more sentimental movies. It's just a little misunderstood.
The premise of Click seems simple. Michael Newman (Sandler) is an unhappy family man who goes shopping for a new remote and accidentally buys a magic one from a scientist played by Walken. At first, this seems like a huge win: he pauses time to slap his terrible boss (Hasselhoff), rewinds to quickly remember details about his marriage, and skips through boring chores.
However, as Michael skips more and more, the remote starts taking matters into its own hands. He accidentally skips a full year to jump ahead to a big promotion at work. Later he skips 10 whole years to become CEO of his company. Each time he skips, his body goes on autopilot (Walken explains this in an exposition-heavy scene) and his life gets worse. He ends up in couples counseling with his wife (Beckinsale), he becomes obese, his father dies.
As Click gets darker, Sandler does some of his best work conveying the emotion of the story. It's not easy given the movie's repetitive gimmick (skip ahead, learn something sad, repeat), but the Sandman makes it work. By the end, you may shed a few tears as Michael reflects on a terrible life barely lived.
Click is not as funny as Happy Gilmore or Billy Madison. It's not as emotional as Uncut Gems or even 50 First Dates. But it's fascinating to watch Adam Sandler walk that line between comedy and drama (with a pinch of sci-fi) in a way he's never quite done since. For that reason alone, it's worth giving this one a watch on Hulu, while you can.
Click is streaming on Hulu in the U.S. through January 31.