Reviewed by: Gabriel Mohler
wanting to be somebody else
Adam Sandler … Max Kessler
Paula Patton … Heather
Kathryn Hahn … Becca
Sean Astin …
David Spade … Charlie McMillan
Luis Guzmán … Jorge
Nick Swardson … Bob
Jared Sandler … DJ
|Director:||Steven Brill—“Walk of Shame” (2014), “Drillbit Taylor” (2008), “Without a Paddle” (2004)|
|Producer:||Happy Madison Productions|
“Dying was their first mistake.”
Most critics seem to have given up on Adam Sandler. He’s talented as an actor, but he wastes most of that talent on lowbrow, often stupid movies. Outside of his cult following, he’s a rightly a laughingstock. Yet for some reason, I’ve taken a liking to his personality, so I keep hoping that someday he’ll be in a movie that I can recommend. (Actually, he already has—Bedtime Stories—but whenever I find out a new movie starring him, I’m curious to see if it will be an improvement on his usual crude, dirty roles.) “The Do Over” is NOT that movie!
Max and Charlie are two old buddies with miserable lives. In short, their families and jobs are a wreck. So Max decides to fake their deaths so they can both “start life over” and be new people. They take on the identities of two dead men, but little do they know that those men are being hunted for their lives by people who don’t know they’re dead.
So that sounds like a pretty interesting plot, right? Well, it’s a pretty interesting premise. In fact, many of Adam Sandler’s movies have good premises. But a good premise is nothing if it is not made into a good plot. Because of the frequent controversy over Sandler’s movies, I’m going to do something I’ve never done in a review before. I’m going to rank the originality, execution of that originality, humor, and crudeness on a scale of one to ten. I already summarized the premise, which I give a 9/10 for originality. I gotta admit, it’s a pretty cool idea!
The execution of the premise, on the other hand, I only give a 4/10. It had so much potential; there were so many things the writers could have done, and so many turns it could have taken! There are plot twists, but nothing amazing; and the film doesn’t really seem to focus on the premise. Instead of looking for opportunities to add more originality to the premise, it looks for anything that could take a crude turn in the given situation. That said, like Adam Sandler’s previous Netflix film, the cinematography, sets, and action are all quite good.
Humor: 3/10. And that’s pretty bad for a movie that’s supposed to be a comedy. Most of the humor comes from the overall amusing tone of the plot; there were only two or three scenes that I even chuckled at.
Crudeness: 10/10. I was prepared for too much crude humor, but I wasn’t expecting it to be THIS deplorable. When I say this film is extremely offensive, I mean VERY extremely offensive. A “hard extremely offensive” rating, so to speak.
NOTE: If you are a young reader, you should not read the following paragraph. Hopefully young readers won’t have unprotected Netflix, but if you do, please just take my word when I say not to click this movie. Otherwise, have your parents read it. (Honestly, I’d rather all readers just take my word for it, but that’s usually not a good idea. I understand that.)
There is filthy sexual content throughout including nudity. A picture of a murdered male body is shown, genitals visible for a short moment. An elderly woman is shown topless, her (prosthetic) breasts sagging over her belly. At the request of Max and Charlie, two women on a nearby boat expose their breasts to the men and to the screen. Charlie then exposes his genitals to them, but the screen only sees his rear end. Later, however, after a threesome which is shown without nudity, we see Charlie’s genitals from the back in a long, close-up shot. There are four other sex scenes, one of which is with a sex doll. Max makes graphic sexual gestures with his fingers and mouth, and there are lots of other sexual jokes.
In the words of one of Plugged In’s reviews, “I don’t even know why you’re still reading.” But oh, there’s more. Since this is a Netflix movie, I was able to get exact profanity counts from the subtitles. Here it is: 28 uses of god, 6 of Jesus, 2 of Christ, 5 of d*mn, 12 of hell, 121 of the F-word, 6 of p*ssy, 3 of ba***rd, 4 of the B-word, 30 of the S-word, 20 of *ss, and 1 of p*ss. There is also a use of “sucks” in addition to the various crude sexual slang terms.
This is also a pretty violent flick. In addition to the usual wounds and blood expected in an action movie, there is a scene where Max breaks a man’s fingers to get information from him (we later learn that he is innocent), a scene where a man’s bone sticks out of his arm, and a torture scene where a villain puts electrical clips on a man’s nipples and testicles. There are a few other torture threats that never actually happen, but the fact that it’s comical makes the torture all the more repulsive. Also, somewhat disturbing is a graphic scene showing Charlie getting a tongue piercing and Max getting a tattoo, although their pain is played for laughs (and I found myself laughing too, because it goes to show how foolish those things are).
On top of all this, there are serious ethical problems with this film. A cop (well, actually a man lying that he’s a cop) gives a friend weed and lets him smoke it while they converse. There is much irreverence about death, but there are also thought-provoking messages about the kind of legacy we will leave when we die. But perhaps the biggest issue is that Max and Charlie are married, and after they start their “do over,” they try to find other women. Furthermore, they never go back to their original lives or reconcile with their families.
It’s been almost a year now since I reviewed “Ted 2,” and the disturbing effect it had on my mind has worn off. Having just gone back and read my frank review again, I realize how truly angry the movie made me. I thought surely movies couldn’t get much worse than that. Now that I’ve seen “The Do Over,” I see that I was wrong (not that I would take back any of what I said), and I feel like movies can’t get much worse than this. How bad can a movie get, anyway? Maybe I’ll never know, but I’m kind of glad this film is not rated—because if it were rated, it would be rated R, and that would be too kind.
If you haven’t figured out my verdict on this film yet, imagine that I’m putting yellow tape all around it that says DO NOT WATCH. Seriously, I’m begging you. “The Do Over” is over-done. And puns aside, it’s way past overdone; it is without a doubt the crudest movie I have ever seen.
Violence: Heavy to extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.