Netflix’s The Week Of is Adam Sandler’s fourth feature with the streaming giant... so has Sandler learned from his past mistakes? The answer is never so simple when it comes to every new entry in the Netflix Sandler collection, but when expectations are low as low can be, something had to eventually succeed in some aspects. The film is quite dry and not particularly funny, but the story flows and the characters work, although not to their fullest potential.
As a first time film director, Robert Smigel is a fun choice. However, his lack of experience is obvious. Set against a realistic backdrop, this film feels like it was filmed on a very minimal budget, yet the budget was most likely astoundingly high. The direction works well enough and doesn’t really hinder from any of the storytelling or comedy, other than a few usual missteps. One of the most notable being an odd edit of Chris Rock’s introduction to the film. Several sharp cuts at pivotal moments and an awful reminder of Sandler’s Jack and Jill near the film’s conclusion, take away from the few memorable scenes - such as an emotional revelation between Sandler and his daughter, the bride to be.
What could have been a fun take on the usual ‘wedding’ genre film, is actually set against a dry backdrop. With unusually stale jokes that only hit when you least expect it, the story’s simplicity and familiarity is what keeps the audience watching. The film feels like it was filmed solely upon the first draft of the screenplay, with no rewrites or rendering of jokes. It’s not something you’ll remember after a few days, but it’s certainly something that can be playing in the background for a nice, generic noise.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
The film is advertised as an Adam Sandler/Chris Rock headed affair, but in all honesty it’s much more of a Sandler film than a shared one. Chris Rock is perfectly fine in the role; the only real issue with it is the lack of development and overall screen time in comparison. Sandler’s performance is fitting (and too good for his character) but once again underdeveloped. Yet his few attributes do contribute to one or two fun, emotional moments. All of the supporting cast are shoved into the background, with not a whole lot of substance making its way to the foreground. The worst character being the dreadfully unfunny relationship of Sandler’s uncle, with an awkward plot-line involving him pretending that he’s a war hero, which takes up way too much of the runtime. The uncle isn’t played extraordinarily well, and the overuse of slapstick humor with the character getting hurt, is an aged maneuver that doesn’t create a laugh. Beyond him, Steve Buscemi shows up...and Sandler’s film wife, Rachel Dratch, simply annoys, with everyone else blending into the backdrop.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Played out, this dull, overused soundtrack makes up a similar score for most relatable comedies. I suppose the lack in a creative soundtrack works well enough with the actions taking place on screen, even if it does feel a little predictable to the ears. Undeniably sappy in the dumbest moments, several comedic moments endure the exact same score as the more serious elements, which is an incredible fault in its own.
Beyond costume design and set design, this comedy stays away from special and practical effects. Suffering however, from a bland pallet of costume design for the entire cast. Where in a normal ‘wedding’ genre film, the bride’s dress and bridesmaids’ dresses would be a big element of the best piece of costume design, this film fails to capture that beauty. The hotel and house set are the two main focuses that The Week Of takes on, yet nothing too crazy happens in either, so their set designs are less of a casualty. The set designs share a similar approach to the plot, presenting predictable plot choices in the design themselves, such as a fan being installed in a one scene, only for it to collapse in a later one. These scenarios happen often and share an eerily similar set up in each situation.
While not easy to rank the latest era of Sandler films, The Week Of falls somewhere in between them all. It’s hard to dislike this film, but it’s difficult to truly enjoy it either. The Week Of just exists. By the credit scroll, my head wasn’t aching from laughing or from the terribly crafted humor, instead I just felt okay with watching it. It’s not a film I would ever dedicate a couple of hours to watch again, nor is it a film I could ever recommend, but it’s not one you will hate watching just once.