Adam Sandler's New Netflix Special is not 100% Fresh

Adam Sandler's first comedy special in over 20 years was released on Netflix last night and unfortunately it's an overproduced mess. It's filled with missed opportunities, Sandler giving up on jokes, and so many harsh cuts it feels like an hour long music video. Below are notes that I took during my viewing session along with some GIFs that show how little Adam Sandler respects his audience.

  • The special was filmed at over 20 comedy clubs and stitched together. So what we should be seeing is the best of the best of Sandler's performances, but instead what we're given is lazy and uninspired.
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  • This is so overproduced it wouldn't even matter if the material was good or not. It's like the director and editor have no idea what makes a comedy special great. There is no flow to it at all and you feel every single cut while watching. Momentum is lost between jokes because the space that's usually designated for audience laughter is filled with random, jarring edits. There is literally a transition edit that just shows Adam dancing in an alleyway making silly faces.

  • Rob Schneider shows up as an astronaut from space station 69 who hangs upside down and pretends to perform fellatio on Adam Sandler. It's probably the best allegory for Schneider's career that I've ever seen.
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  • Before this special was released there was a lot of talk about how Paul Thomas Anderson was "directing" it. He only directed one of Sandler's live shows and not the whole special. The job of directing the whole thing was given to Steven Brill. Steven is best known for directing comedy dumpster fires: Little Nicky, Drillbit Taylor, and Movie 43. This man has no real understanding of comedy or even storytelling.
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  • In the trailer we are teased with what we think is going to be Adam Sandler performing randomly in at a New York City subway station. We are briefly shown Sandler singing what appears to be a improvised song, but there is never a punch line and while we're shown quick clips of him in the subway again the idea is never revisited. There is no payoff. (We also never meet Adam Sandler's dog like the trailer suggests)
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  • Sandler bails on so many jokes. He'll be in the middle of telling the punchline to a joke and he just trails off or laughs mid sentence. It's almost like he knows that people will laugh at no matter what he says because they're all just so excited to be in the same room as such a big movie star. I'm willing to bet that this audience was filled with people who haven't seen an Adam Sandler movie since Big Daddy because if they watched The Do-Over, Grown Ups, or The Cobbler they wouldn't view Sandler's comedy with such nostalgic glasses.
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  • Most audience members seem to be enjoying themselves, but some... not so much. Several times during the special we'll see an audience member and it's clear that they weren't expecting this kind of show. The only part of the special where I actually laughed out loud is in GIF form below. In the middle of a joke the camera cuts to a woman in the audience who clearly is dumbfounded about what is going on.
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  • There are some really good ideas and jokes in the special, but they are severely hampered by Sandler's, "Oh shucks, I'm just a normal guy having fun" schtick. The best bits are clearly written by Sandler's writing team and Dan Bulla.
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  • Speaking of Dan Bulla, he is a treat and easily one of the best parts of the whole special. I kinda wish it was just him on stage. Of course Sandler doesn't even bother to introduce him.
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  • The Bar Mitzvah song will get a lot of play and is presented like Sandler's new Hanukkah song. It's one of the best in the whole special along with "Smelly Uber Driver" and the catchy "Phone, Wallet, Keys".
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  • Most of the songs in this special are just short musical blackouts and while it's refreshing to see an Adam Sandler song that doesn't overstay it's welcome, the songs he sings are mostly just unfinished ideas spoken to music.
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  • There is a somewhat heartfelt tribute to Chris Farley towards the end of the show, but it felt a little disingenuous after hearing nothing real from Adam for the previous 55 minutes.
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  • The last song is proof that Adam has been relying on nostalgia for anything new he creates. It's a new rendition of "Grow Old With You", but with some new lazy lyrics inserted about his wife. It's cute and it feels genuine, but it's really too little too late.

Overall this is not the worst thing Sandler has made in the last 5 years, but the bar is so low at this point it's not a huge accomplishment. If you would like to hear more about 100% Fresh or other Adam Sandler projects you can check out the podcast Adam Sandler Please Stop. It's on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and basically every other podcasting service.

Rating: 3 out of 10

 

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