Adam Sandler also wears shorts in The Meyerowitz Stories. The Meyerowitz Stories was bought by Netflix, but is not part of the infamous 4 (or now 8) film deal that Sandler made with the streaming service. On the one hand there are The Do-Over or The Ridiculous 6. The combo Netflix and Sandler serves here as a seal of evil. Omnipresent aversion of this kind must first be achieved by a contract in favor of the security and freedom of a filmmaker. Or rather not. On the other hand, there is the celebrated auteur filmmaker Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha). It gives Sandler legitimacy, the Cannes shimmer. Sandler is an excellent actor in The Meyerowitz Stories, but he did that before, just in a different genre, with different pitches. It’s time to put aside any uneasiness about Adam Sandler’s career.
The Meyerowitz Stories
The discussion about Adam Sandler’s Netflix free ticket opens a bridge to the documentary Promised Land, also shown in Cannes, which compares the decline of Elvis Presley with that of the USA. Adam Sandler is not a picture of America (the immigrant Zohan is, of course). However, Elvis’ Las Vegas deal marked a turning point. First the King maloched in the film, then he shot an awesome comeback special. Instead of an artistic rebirth, Elvis chose the lucrative offer in Vegas and wasted himself and his body on the warbling of old camels until his death. Negative-minded Sandler observers usually don’t know what to do with his comedies anyway. Fans of Happy Gilmore and Waterboy – The guy with the water damage, however, feels like “Fat Elvis” in Vegas. Comfort prevails, creativity dries up. No plea for Sandler’s Netflix work is to be made here; the majority of them are qualitatively disappointing and consistently punished by an apatowian lack of discipline. Sandler is still looking for his groove in the new streaming home and the most capable staff is not always available. He makes himself comfortable on the playground. The third film in the series, the lovable Sandy Wexler, suggests a change for the better. Sandy Wexler stands out refreshingly from the dominant trends of Hollywood comedy, which conceal their thin punch lines with R-rating shocks or action. His heart is an old-school Sandler character, a bizarre outsider with a childlike kindness. Of course, that doesn’t keep him from making catastrophic decisions (otherwise it wouldn’t be a comedy). A tempered, Cannes-compatible version of this can also be found in The Meyerowitz Stories. Without her, without Adam Sandler, the film would be unbearable.
That is part of the concept. Adam Sandler plays Danny, the eldest son of Harold Meyerowitz (Dustin Hoffman), who has worked as an artist all his life. He is only valued as an art professor, which in turn he doesn’t appreciate at all. Danny has little to show: a never-ending career as a musician, a failed marriage; No work. His daughter Eliza (Grace Van Patten) is entering college. She also wants to be an artist. Danny’s half-brother Matthew (Ben Stiller) does something with finance. He’s very successful, a fact Father Meyerowitz mentions to Danny at every opportunity. While Matthew in all other moments hears how beautiful Danny used to play the piano. Sister Jean (Elizabeth Marvel, sadly marginalized) lives on and can be proud of a hard-earned distance from the voracious complexes of her family. The multiple failures gnaw at the children. Based on Harold’s toxic scribble, it has taken over the sons over the years. One responded by moving to LA. Danny, on the other hand, seeks the closeness of his father, although there is only criticism. He even worships his art.
The Meyerowitz Stories
The potentially unbearable element in The Meyerowitz Stories remains this eternal gnawing of the father. Dustin Hoffman’s concentrated charisma is needed to understand why Danny doesn’t prefer to live under a bridge. With the family cold in the Meyerowitz house, you also end up shivering. Emma Thompson’s permanently alcoholic stepmother Maureen suffers just like her colleague Marvel from the male focus and sometimes seems like an eccentric running gag. In any case, the viciousness of the general neglect causes laughter. The same applies to the detailed tips against the milieu (“Where’s my gourmet hummus?”) And the amusing self-overestimation of the great genius Harold Meyerowitz, who persistently demands / fantasizes his belated appreciation.
Adam Sandler’s Danny obediently sacrifices himself to this starvation of his own failure, who does not allow any talent next to him and yet expects everyone to do the same. Naivety and kindness (and also outbursts of anger) of the Sandler heroes can be found in this figure. The Meyerowitz Stories is first and foremost a comedy, even more so than the thematically obvious The Squid and the Whale. Danny’s silently endured pain harbors a promise: This one of the many stories of dysfunctional film families sooner or later comes up with an emotional response. Thanks to Sandler’s vulnerable game, it works. Excursions like The Meyerowitz Stories, however, are not evidence of that one supposedly hidden talent of Adam Sandler, but rather the many facets of the art of acting that a good film comedian has to master. Whether in Sandy Wexler or the new Baumbach.
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