If you don't count his voice acting in films like Hotel Transylvania, by most accounts, it has been a really long time since Adam Sandler has been a part of a great movie. Over the last year, Sandler has been pushing out films exclusively for Netflix as part of a four picture deal he and the streaming service worked out some time ago. And so far, the results haven't been great, at least in terms of quality. Though Netflix seems pretty happy with the viewership. His second Netflix original, The Do-Over has just hit Netflix in time for Memorial Day weekend, and it just might actually be worth your time, if you've had a couple of drinks already.
The Do-Over is the story of two old high school friends, Charlie McMillan (David Spade) and Max Kessler (Sandler), who haven't seen one another in a very long time and wind up reconneting at a high school reunion. Both are tired of the lives they are living, for wildly different reasons, and decide to fake their own deaths so they can start over, or rather Kessler decides for them without telling McMillan. A do over, if you will. They get two different identities, but as one might suspect, it doesn't all go according to plan and action-packed hijinks ensue.
Director Steven Brill has worked with Sandler in the past on both Little Nicky and Mr. Deeds, one of which wasn't a bad movie, and he returned for the three-peat to direct The Do-Over. Ultimately, it probably won't help or hurt his career beyond cashing the paycheck Netflix handed him. The reason being that, despite a premise that for a few minutes feels like it might actually work, the movie simply isn't good. Which, given Sandler's recent track record, seemingly no matter who he's working with, may not be all that surprising.
The best moments of the film (and despite it being pretty bad overall, there are a few), take place mostly in the beginning, before the film really goes off the rails. And with some of the very under used talent, who for some reason signed on for the action comedy. Stand-Up comedian Natasha Leggero plays David Spade's wife, and for the very little screen time she has, she is as funny as anyone who is familiar with her would come to expect. Kathryn Hahn also shows up for a hot second, and nobody is going to blame her for the unfortunate and unimpressive comedy this wound up being.
Outside of the central cast, a lot of Happy Madison regulars make appearances such as Nick Swardson and Luiz Guzman. They neither help nor hurt the finished product. The main problem with The Do-Over is that it is mostly flat. It isn't egregiously bad like some of Adam Sandler movies have been accused of being and it certainly never rises above anything beyond a low brow chuckle. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sandler's best movies such as Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison were never anything more than the best version of low brow, so nobody should hold that aspect of the The Do-Over against Sandler, being that, at his comedic best, that was never off the table.
At the end of the day, it is sort of fitting that Netflix is putting this movie out on Memorial Day weekend. Many people will be partying and drinking this weekend and honestly, if you had a few drinks in you and popped this movie on with some friends and didn't take it too seriously, you just might laugh a few times. That is about as solid of a compliment anyone can pay The Do-Over. The best parts of this movie, like the best parts of Sandler's career, are the moments where we get to see him be serious ala Punch Drunk Love. Though, those moments are far too brief in this effort. The reason Netflix has this deal with Sandler, and the reason people keep going to see his movies, is because he is a guy we know still has something good in him. Or at least we hope so. We want to root for him, but it is getting more difficult with each bad movie. At least this one came with your regularly monthly subscription fee.