DENVER, Colo., February 10, 2011 — Who would have guessed the most enduring “Saturday Night Live” graduate would be Adam Sandler?
Not Will Ferrell, Eddie Murphy, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd or Bill Murray.
Sandler isn’t a great mimic, nor does his slapstick outstrip his peers. He’s not verbally dexterous like a Dennis Miller, and he hasn’t created any iconic characters, like Mike Myers or Dana Carvey.
Does he even have a catchphrase to his credit?
He just makes money hand-over-fist at the box office on a pretty regular basis, at a time when very few movie stars can say the same. He’ll likely do it again Feb. 11 with the release of “Just Go With It,” his latest comedy co-starring Jennifer Aniston.
What’s his secret?
It’s hard not to admire his willingness to take chances: witness his semi-dramatic turns in films like “Spanglish,” “Punch Drunk Love” and “Funny People.” But his mainstream comedies tend to be lazy affairs, lacking a true comic spirit. Even “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan,” which began with such promise, became simply another venue for his haphazard comedy.
Perhaps it’s Sandler’s tabloid-free lifestyle which earns him enough goodwill. It’s rare to read anything negative about his off-screen behavior. He seems loyal to his troupe of players, like Rob Schneider and John Turturro, and never utters a divisive sound bit like his peers.
Is that why he remains a box office draw? Or is it his willingness to give the public what it wants, in between the occasional artistic stretching?
Christian Toto is a veteran journalist and film critic whose work appears in The Denver Post, The Washington Times and PajamasMedia.com. His movie reviews are heard on WTOP radio and “The Dennis Miller Show,” and he blogs on film at What Would Toto Watch? Read more of Christian’s work at Movies in Toto in the Communities at the Washington Times.
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