The following is a review of The Week Of — Directed by Robert Smigel.
Although Adam Sandler is in (and is great in) Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Limited), which is a film that Netflix acquired the distribution rights to, the straight-to-Netflix Adam Sandler films — the true Netflix productions — haven’t exactly been great. When I saw the first trailer for The Week Of — his latest Netflix original film — I was convinced that this would be an improvement on films like The Do-Over and The Ridiculous Six. I was wrong.
The Week Of is a comedy film about the week before the marriage of Kenny Lustig’s daughter and Kirby Cordice’s son. Kirby (played by Chris Rock) is a wealthy surgeon whose wealth has alienated him from the rest of his family, while Kenny (played by Adam Sandler) is a loving father whose life is defined by his attachment to his family. Kenny insists that he will pay for the wedding, but he simply cannot afford the wedding his daughter deserves and his home cannot house both families. Kirby could easily take all of these problems away, but Kenny is too proud to let someone else take care of his family.
I really like Adam Sandler. Last year’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Limited) was one of my favorite films of the year, and I think he is excellent both in the aforementioned Baumbach film and in Paul Thomas Anderson’s masterpiece Punch-Drunk Love. I like Adam Sandler so much that I often make an event out of watching his Netflix films. Whenever possible a friend of mine and I watch these films together, just like we did last night with The Week Of. When the movie was over he — someone who, unlike me, has enjoyed most of the Netflix-Sandler films — and I both agreed that this may be Sandler’s low point on the streaming service. His films have never felt quite as phoned-in, uninspired, and lazy as The Week Of does.
The Week Of is a worse, slightly offensive, and painfully unfunny version of Father of the Bride. It opens up with a decent set-up for comedy with a telephone conversation during an open-heart surgery, but it doesn’t really lead up to anything worthwhile except for the look of nervousness coming from the patient’s worried family once Kirby walks out of the operating room to take the phone call.
Speaking of telephone conversations, another one features Steve Buscemi’s character paying little attention to Kenny, because he is more interested in watching a scene from HBO’s Game of Thrones frame-by-frame, in which the character Shae (Sibel Kekilli) is sucking on one of Peter Dinklage’s character Tyrion’s fingers. Is it entirely unfunny? Maybe not, but it does feel like a very lazy joke considering they are literally shoe-horning in superior content and using it to elicit laughter that the movie itself could never earn on its own.
The one laugh that the film got out of me came from a scene in which Chris Rock’s character jokes that he could hang himself from a hastily installed pull-up doorway bar. I found it funny that Rock’s character found that option more appealing than being in the specially-designed, but cheaply made hotel room suite that Sandler’s character has made and ordered for him. It reminded me of how much of a chore it was to watch this movie.
I take no pleasure in writing up this harsh review, but, at multiple times during the movie, it felt like I was watching paint dry as the needless and uninteresting subplots made the film seem much longer than it actually was. Having said that, though, this film has no business being as long as it is either.
One of the things that I thought was just distasteful and potentially offensive about this film is that the film has no qualms about making fun of an elderly man who has had both legs surgically removed. It isn’t just one or two jokes here and there. The elderly man is made fun of time and time again, and you get the sense that the writers saw him as nothing else than a character like the titular character in Weekend at Bernie’s — someone they can walk around with as if he were nothing more than a prop.
Sadly, the potentially sentimental moments, which may have carried some sort of worth in another film, are wasted in scenes that try to get a laugh out of you in the cheapest possible ways. One of these days, I hope that Adam Sandler decides to actually give it his all with one of these Netflix comedies. It hasn’t happened yet.
1 out of 10
– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen