A life that doesn’t have a few regrets probably isn’t a life that is fully lived, yet we wish for the chance to fix our mistakes, take the chances ignored, and ultimately seek out a better life. If we could trade in our commitments and start anew, what would we do differently? In 2016, the second of the four Netflix-Sandler films was released, following the adventure of two friends who get in over their heads, diving head-first into supposedly better lives and finding themselves at the barrel of a gun, in The Do-Over.
After reuniting at their high-school reunion, Charlie and Max realise their lives aren’t as they planned. Charlie has barely evolved from his high-school existence (except with an ungrateful family) and Max has to deal with pressures of work and home. After taking Charlie on a Yacht weekend decides to fake their deaths (à la Reginald Perin) and seek new identities. Charlie is now Ronald P. Fishman and Max is now Butch Ryder, and with a budget from the now ‘deceased’ Max’s credit cards, the duo head out for adventure retracing the extravagant steps of the former life occupants. When guys with guns come to crash their party, it’s up to the duo to get to the bottom of their persona’s demises.
Essentially, The Do-Over is an action-adventure film with the comedy trappings of Sandler’s signature style. Product placement is abundant, although less so than in Jack and Jill. You will see many references to Corona and Bud Light, owned by the same company, Anheuser-Busch. If gazed at cynically, The Do-Over could be seen as an expenses-paid opportunity to hang out with his buddy David Spade. Exotic locals are plentiful on this globe-trotting adventure, while this does come with the action pastiche territory, I would imagine it would be fun to hang out in Puerto Rico, even if you’re working. Other comedy stars also make an appearance, most notably Luis Guzmán. There’s also a lot of action, I’d imagine Adam Sandler would want to play an action star, and manages to get into a multitude of car chases and gunfights worthy of the title. All while injecting his trademark brand of humour into the proceedings.
It is fun seeing Spade playing the straight-man, from dealing with his ungrateful family to getting a tongue stud. Throughout the film, we discover that Max has what could be described as an unhinged quality, that surprisingly plays into Adam Sandler’s comedy well. Such as showing a widow the gruesome autopsy photo of her deceased husband is a noticeable example. But his character has some depth that manages to tie itself into the plot in ways I did not see coming (that were subtly foreshadowed beforehand).
Yes, it could be argued that Sandler’s films do adhere to a formula, and The Do-Over is no exception. But like the multitude that came before it, if you’re a fan of the typical Happy Madison humour, you will like what is in store here. It translates well to the action genre as it did for the westerns in last year’s release, and with some interesting twists and turns to keep the film fresh enough to warrant the two-hour excursion. While other films may wish to go back and change things, The Do-Over does a lot of things well on its first try.
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