In Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel, Louise asks if it's possible "for someone to hit you hard like that — real loud and hard, and it not hurt you at all?"
Or, to place the question in a personal, modern context: can I watch Adam Sandler's Click and still have a good time?
By most accounts, this was a pretty rotten film. Fortunately, having appropriately lowered expectations allowed me to find some amusement in what I agree to not be a critical success — for, as anyone who saw Snakes on a Plane can attest, quality of film (C- for Snakes) is not necessarily an indication of quantity of enjoyment (B+).
In Click, Adam Sandler, who can't find enough time to balance work and family, receives from the ever-unsettling Christopher Walken a "universal remote control": a control for the universe (not to be confused with John Ritter's remote in Stay Tuned). With it, Sandler can pause, fast forward, and translate his surroundings — though it's the fast-forwarding that gets him into trouble as he skips ahead in his career, losing out on the accompanying joy of raising a family.
And what a family: wife Kate Beckinsale's "rockin' body", as Walken's character puts it, is enough to make anyone want to slap Sandler silly for skipping even a second with her. Other notable actors: David Hasselhoff and his pearly whites play the part of the pompous boss all too well; and I was surprised to see Sean Astin in a small, almost insignificant role. I thought, after Lord of the Rings, that he was destined for better things. But Henry Winkler was great as Sandler's dad. I hadn't previously realized Sandler's proclivity for recycling: his Waterboy coach and the O'Doyle family from Billy Madison are both present here.
As far as the movie goes, it's a story of maturation and realization that's been told countless times. There's an occasional laugh-out-loud funny moment, though for every clever moment, there's a scatological joke — exactly what I expected from Sandler. The last ten minutes or so, despite also being clichéd, were touching (reminiscent of the climax for Defending Your Life); it's getting there that's the trouble: Sandler learns fairly quickly the curse of the control, and the audience must endure another 30 minutes as this lesson is painfully beaten into his thick skull. With some judicious cutting, this movie could've been a one-hour episode of Amazing Stories.