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Monday Morning Quarterback

By BOP Staff

July 23, 2007

My favorite athlete is Pete Rose.

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Or maybe people just went to see Jessica Biel in her bra and panties. Ever think of that?

Kim Hollis: It doesn't feel at all like the biggest story of the weekend, but I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry finished at #1, earning $34.8 million in its opening frame. What's your opinion of this debut?

Reagen Sulewski: It's slightly below the curve for Sandler, and with this not being too functionally different in apparent quality from most of his recent comedies, I have to lay this on one factor - the premise. A little more than 10% of Adam Sandler's fans are homophobic enough to miss a movie where he plays a character that pretends to be gay. Although really, it's less than most people might think.

Max Braden: It's a touch soft for a summer comedy, and for Sandler's history, but something greater than $30 million isn't bad, especially considering the poor reviews this one received. I don't think the trailer was particularly great, but I think the movie might have done better about five years ago. Somehow the concept feels a little past peak, and maybe audiences had that in the backs of their minds before deciding to go or not.

Joel Corcoran: I thought the Chuck and Larry premise was an episode of Will and Grace years ago, but I could be wrong. Overall, it seems like a middle-of-the-road opening for a middle-of-the-road comedy. Nothing exceptionally good or bad about its performance on opening weekend, other than it may make a great trivia question someday: "What movie knocked Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix from the #1 spot at the box office?"

Dan Krovich: I think the fact that this opening is considered a bit soft is a testament to Sandler. He's very consistent, and if this is on the low end of what you can expect from a broad Sandler comedy that's got to be good news for a studio. Sandler is still a safe bet in a broad comedy.

Jim Van Nest: I thought Reagen nailed it in his weekend forecast when he said this looked like a Three's Company episode. Dan's right, the fact that it brought in over $30 million is a testament to how golden Sandler is. To take a movie that looks completely terrible and still make that kind of bank...well, let's suffice it to say that Robin Williams wishes he had that kind of box office power.

Michael Bentley: That's absolutely right, Dan. Sandler is one of the safest bets you can make in Hollywood today. Like him or not, his reliability in comedies has been amazing.

Kim Hollis: Really, how long is it until he is considered "uncool"? Obviously he has a fairly loyal contingent of fans, but at some point, if the movies are sucky and forgettable, he's going to lose them.

David Mumpower: In addition to everyone else's comments, the one aspect I take from this is how Adam Sandler's core fan-base does not appear to be enjoying the Big Message phase of his career. With the awkwardly preachy nature of Click followed by Sandler's attempt to take a stance about homophobia, he is alienating the fratboy crowd to a degree with the Jackass crew and Borat being the big beneficiaries.




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Kim Hollis: It seems like Adam Sandler has a pretty standard range for his comedies on opening weekends. Given the lack of critical support for I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, do you think Sandler should start to focus more on smaller films like Punch-Drunk Love?

Reagen Sulewski: I don't think Sandler's going to give up his bread and butter anytime soon, especially with the performance of Reign Over Me, which stopped short of $20 million. Honestly, I don't even want him to, as bad as his recent big comedies have been (I have to go back to 50 First Dates before I like one). Punch-Drunk Love was a brilliant film, but it took a Paul Thomas Anderson to drag that performance out of him and recontextualize his standard character. I doubt there's too many more directors that are willing to do that.

Max Braden: I think he'll continue to do decently at these types of comedies, though age may become an obstacle in due time. He may have secured his audience so well that they won't believe he'll be able to handle Punch Drunk-type material, regardless of how good he may be at it. Still, unless he shifts to even more family-oriented comedies to tap those dollars, I would expect him to venture more and more into dramas to flex his acting chops.

Dan Krovich: It must be a comfortable feeling for Sandler to know that he can basically pull this off in his sleep. I think he'd keep up a regular supply of these and do some side projects here and there that don't conform to his standard comedy. This is what allows him to try some other things.

Jim Van Nest: What the hell would happen to Rob Schneider if Sandler stopped making these comedies? I don't think he wants *that* on his conscience. Seriously though, I suspect we'll see him begin the Jim Carrey "please give me an Oscar" path anytime now.

Tim Briody: Didn't he already try that with Punch Drunk Love and even Spanglish, Jim? Besides, I don't know if I can live in a world where Billy Madison is an Oscar winner.

Kim Hollis: I do think he's fairly content to do whatever he feels like - whether that be the big, dumb comedy or the smaller-scale Reign Over Me type of films. Just so long as we don't see him take the Robin Williams path, all will be well.

David Mumpower: I expect him to keep throwing the occasional change-up in addition to his normal routine of fish-out-of-water characters. His next project, a Judd Apatow comedy called You Don't Mess with the Zohan, is more of the same, but an opportunity to do something different will present itself in another couple of years. What I wonder most about Sandler is how much longer he can keep targeting the same demographic. He turns 41 this year, and the fungible everyman comedy is starting to wear thin.


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