Someone might want to check the thermostat in hell, because Adam Sandler’s latest Netflix film is getting good reviews.
Sandy Wexler, directed by Sandler’s longtime collaborator Steven Brill (Little Nicky, Mr Deeds), stars the actor as a washed up ’90s Hollywood talent manager who mounts his comeback after discovering an aspiring singer (Jennifer Hudson) at a theme park.
Follows teenager Clay Jensen, in his quest to uncover the story behind his classmate and crush, Hannah, and her decision to end her life.
It features cameos from a slew of Sandler’s famous friends, including Jimmy Kimmel, Judd Apatow, Conan O’Brien and Saturday Night Live honcho Lorne Michaels, and period-setting ’90s stars such as Vanilla Ice, Jason Priestley, Pauly Shore, Lisa Loeb and Hootie from Hootie and the Blowfish.
After a string of flops that saw him highlighted as a box office pariah, the film has earned positive reviews and strong word-of-mouth since launching last week – although not without the requisite caveats.
“Maybe it’s a question of drastically lowered expectations finally working to Sandler’s advantage, but Sandy Wexler is disarming in its charms,” wrote AV Club critic Jesse Hassenger.
“Once you get past the annoying voice and some of the dreadfully unfunny side characters, it is disarmingly sweet and even occasionally clever,” wrote The Guardian‘s Jordan Hoffman.
The film is the third of a multi-picture deal Netflix struck with Sandler, a deal that saw the streaming giant roundly mocked when it was renewed for another four flicks in March.
The ridicule was perhaps understandable: Sandler’s previous works for Netflix resulted in the woefully-received The Ridiculous 6 (2015) – it still sports a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes – and The Do-Over (2016).
Critically trashed… Adam Sandler in The Ridiculous Six.
Netflix, however, don’t mind. Earlier this week, in a report outlining their Quarter One results, the streaming site revealed that subscribers watched “more than half a billion hours” of Sandler films on the platform, despite the star’s much derided output.
Sandler’s unlikely success echoes the company’s, with Netflix due to hit 100 million subscribers by the end of the week.
That monumental milestone had CEO Reed Hastings gloating over the service’s dominance over its streaming rivals, including Amazon Prime and Hulu.
In an address to shareholders following the report’s release, he joked that, at this stage in the online bingeing landscape, “sleep” was the company’s biggest competition.