Friday, December 3, 2010

Ten Critically-Lambasted "Happy Madison" Movies

Adam Sandler: he was funny on SNL as Operaman and had some funny songs about Chanukah. He has a well-meaning schlub shtick that's endearing to watch, for perhaps as much as two minutes at a time. And he has a richly undeservedly successful career as a film mogul, using his "Happy Madison" production company to churn out endless fart-joke-driven vehicles for himself and his buddies.

Not all "Happy Madison" movies are box-office bombs: some are wildly successful, bringing in money by the hundreds of millions. None of them, not a single one (excluding "Reign Over Me" and "Funny People", outside productions that bear the Happy Madison logo merely because they star the CEO), has been well received by critics. And I think, after rigorous analysis, I've determined the reason why: they're truly bad movies. This leads me to one of two conclusions regarding their success: (a) Fart jokes, unfunny comedy, synthetic sentimentality, poor writing and worse acting are features that are much more greatly appreciated by the public-at-large than by critics or, well, myself. Alternately, (b) Adam Sandler's success is guaranteed by an all-powerful underground secret order, along the lines of the Illuminati. Ockham's Razor suggests number b is more likely than number a. Here are ten particularly odious travesties, and their ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.

1.THE HOT CHICK: Rotten Tomatoes found 80 reviews of this 2002 Rob Schneider movie, and found that fully 63 panned it. That gives this movie an abymal positive rating of 21%. Now get ready for the shocker: this top ten list goes from high to low. That's correct: 21%, one-in-five, is as good as it gets here. "At more than 100 minutes, this alleged comedy is easily the worst thing Schneider's done to date." - Jeff Vice, Deseret News. "I will say this for the film -- it's in color. And, it was mostly in focus. And I really can't say anymore for it beyond that." - Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper. "One of the most depressing movie-going experiences I can think of is to sit through about 90 minutes of a so-called 'comedy' and not laugh once." - James Berardinelli, ReelViews.The Hot Chick

2.GRANDMA'S BOY: This 2006 movie, starring no one I've ever heard of, managed to get a whopping 18% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. "Grandma's Boy is an Adam Sandler comedy without Adam Sandler, which is kind of like getting a root canal without the dentist." - Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle. "I may require therapy after seeing this." - Peter Howell, Toronto Star. "Just as a few bong hits would probably make the movie a tiny bit funnier, they would also probably make all memories of the film blissfully vanish." - Dan Fienberg,'s Boy

3.I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY: Sandler co-starred with Kevin James in this one, which earned 120 million dollars in 2007. RT gave it a 13%. "Adam Sandler adds here to his lengthening charge sheet as the most repellent "entertainer" on the planet." - Anthony Quinn, Independent. "Pronouncing Adam Sandler's latest comedy anything but a disaster of Chernobyl-sized proportions is beyond me." - David Edwards, Daily Mirror. "The movie is a numbskull insult to gay people. Just on the basis of the mirthless trailer, however, they'll probably ignore it. I doubt they'll be alone." - Kurt Loder, MTV.I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

4.ADAM SANDLER'S EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS: Sandler was comfortable enough with this cartoon to actually put his name on the title. Only 12% of Rotten Tomatoes critics could find something good to say about it. "The movie is like a snotty little kid who thinks he can shock you with all the naughty words he knows." - MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher. "Sets animation back 30 years, musicals back 40 years and Judaism back at least 50." - Roger Moore, Houston Chronicle. "An earnest Scrooge story with a heart covered in excrement." - Mark Palermo, Coast.Eight Crazy Nights

5.THE BENCHWARMERS: This 2006 Schneider-and-Spade vehicle managed 12% positive reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, and yet there are still five "Happy Madison" movies worse than it. "Could it be that this Adam Sandler movie is so atrocious that Sandler himself didn't want to be seen in it?" - Linda Cook, Quad City Times. "To watch this idiocy is to feel your brain cells die." - Pam Grady, "This is, for all its supposed charms, a very nasty little movie." - David Cornelius, Benchwarmers

6.JOE DIRT: Rotten Tomatoes gave this 2001 David Spade vehicle 11%. "In one scene, raw sewage is dumped on Joe. See Joe Dirt and you'll know how that feels," - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone. "Avoid this garbage like the plague." - Eric Lurio, Greenwich Village Gazette. "Too long and too stupid." - Liz Braun, Toronto Sun.Joe Dirt

7.GROWNUPS: This 2010 film proves Adam Sandler hasn't lost his, er, shall we call it a Midas touch or what? At ten percent on RT, only one reviewer in ten actually liked this film, yet its all-has-been cast helped it rake in $162 million. Adam Sandler might not make audiences laugh, but he's laughing all the way to the bank. "Frankly, if this makes you laugh even once, I recommend seeking medical advice." - David Edwards, Daily Mirror. "Why try to be clever when you can have someone land face-first in a pile of animal feces instead? Ah, feces - an appropriate visual metaphor for Grown Ups." - Mike McGranaghan, Aisle Seat. "Come on Sandler, you've got all the money in the world. Challenge yourself instead of headlining crap like this." - Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper.Grownups

8.DEUCE BIGALOW: EUROPEAN GIGOLO: With a 23% Rotten Tomatoes success rate, Rob Schneider's Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo just misses this top ten list. Yet its 2005 sequel couldn't even manage half that. 10%. "The best place for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo is at the bottom of the number two diaper pail." - Gary Brown, Houston Community Newspapers. "Moronic and repulsive." - Paul Arendt, BBC. "There is something to be said for the uncompromising idiocy of the film, but that something is unprintable." - Lisa Rose, Newark Star-Ledger.Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo

9.THE MASTER OF DISGUISE: This 2002 film starred Dana Carvey as "Pistachio Disguisey". It earned 40 million dollars and a 2% positive score from Rotten Tomatoes: "This is a serious contender for the title of The Worst Film Ever Made." - Matthew Turner, ViewLondon. "A film about idiots, made by idiots, for idiots." - Alan Morrison, Empire Magazine. "I cannot disguise my feelings - this film sucks." - Danny Minton, KBTV-NBC.The Master of Disguise

10.STRANGE WILDERNESS: Of 42 reviewers, Rotten Tomatoes could find not a single one with anything positive to say about this 2008 ensemble comedy. It actually has a RT rating of zero. It almost takes effort to score that low. Even Gigli got a seven. "About as funny as watching a cute animal die a long slow death - and probably as painful." - Glen Ferris, Empire Magazine. "This farcical comedy is a Morlock of a movie--an ugly, subhuman dirt-dweller." - Frank Lovece, Film Journal International. "It's not a film. It's the Zeroes' worst pop-culture excretion." - Nick Rogers, Wilderness

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