People often fault Adam Sandler for making the same movie over and over again. You know -- family-friendly flicks about a goofy manchild who matures over the course of the movie. But can you blame him? Movies that follow that formula, like Grown Ups, Just Go With It and even Jack & Jill all killed at the box office.
His most recent release, That's My Boy, deviates ever-so-slightly from his tried-and-true formula. Sure, he still plays a manchild, but the shenanigans in this flick aren't exactly family friendly. He plays Andy Samberg's unruly estranged father who frequents seedy strip clubs and pals around with Vanilla Ice.
Fans of vintage Sandler flicks like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore would surely enjoy That's My Boy. So what's the problem? Well, maybe the bulk of the die-hard Sandler fans are parents now who don't make it out to the theatres without their young 'uns in tow. (And no, I won't entertain the possibility that die-hard Sandler fans have just matured and moved on. I count myself among his longtime loyal fans, and I certainly haven't outgrown his shenanigans.)
This isn't the first time Sandler stepped out of his comfort zone and flopped. Many are pointing out that That's My Boy marked his worst box office debut since Spanglish, when he took a more serious turn. Same goes for Funny People, in which he played a bitter comedian battling cancer. Apparently, people just want to see Sandler doing what he does best -- playing an immature not-quite-adult. (With a PG rating, though, so they can bring the kiddies.)
This week, Sandler is in A-list company when it comes to his high profile flop. Megastar Tom Cruise eschewed his usual action hero fare to play sultry (yes, men can be sultry) rock star Stacee Jaxx in Rock of Ages. Unfortunately for Cruise, it appears as though his loyal fan base wasn't loyal enough to flock to the theatres to see him unleash his inner Bret Michaels.
This is a rare miss for Cruise. The last time he deviated from his norm, he got nothing but accolades. Yes, I'm talking about Tropic Thunder, when he slapped on a fat suit, spewed profanity and even busted some slick dance moves as the sleazy agent Len Grossman.
Luckily for the profit-conscious studios, both Sandler and Cruise are set to return to their more typical fare. Sandler is filming Grown Ups 2, and one of Cruise's next releases will be the big-budget action flick Oblivion.
For what it's worth, I'd certainly be up for seeing Sandler take on some more non-PG roles going forward. Let's hope That's My Boy rakes up some big bucks in DVD and Blu-ray sales to pave the way for such things. (It could happen! His aging fans could pop it in after the kids fall asleep.)
What say you? Am I alone in hoping Sandler doesn't return to exclusively doing family-friendly fare?