Sometimes, films are unjustly judged. Other times, popular opinion needs to be challenged. Either way, this content will likely be unpopular.
The films of Adam Sandler aren’t often well-received, and his Netflix efforts are often considered amongst his worst. However, the routine critical dismissal of Sandler’s movies often disregards his abilities as an actor and performer. The chemistry that Sandler manages to share with practically everyone he appears with is a true gift, and it’s one that shouldn’t be overlooked. Though some of his Netflix movies are genuinely and objectively bad, The Do-Over really isn’t one of them.
Pairing Sandler with long-time friend and regular collaborator David Spade, The Do-Over follows Charlie (Spade) and Max (Sandler) as they fake their deaths and unwittingly uncover a criminal conspiracy in the process. Thrust into a high-stakes game of cat and mouse, Max and Charlie set out to unravel the mysterious deaths of the men whose identities they’ve adopted while evading a host of dangerous criminals. It’s the sort of high-concept buddy action-comedy that Sandler isn’t exactly known for, but it’s a perfect match for his talents.
The Do-Over Deserves… Well, A Do-Over
As Adam Sandler is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood, it’s unsurprising that he delivers a performance far beyond the one he’s credited with. Though The Do-Over isn’t his best work, he uses his talents to success in his supporting role. It’s David Spade that really leads The Do-Over, and the film serves as proof of his continued comedic ability that many consider a thing of the past. Spade’s turn as Charlie uses emotion in key moments, but is almost always played for laughs, making his performance both sympathetic and tonally appropriate by turns.
The Do-Over‘s story is somewhat original, but with familiar twists and turns that make it enjoyable if not innovative. Spade and Sandler’s comedic chemistry carry it through its weaker moments, as do a number of solid comedy cameos – Michael Chiklis, Luis Guzman, and Matt Walsh stand out in particular for their brief but genuinely funny appearances. Through this, The Do-Over hits the same heights as other more popular Sandler movies, although it gets no credit whatsoever for doing so.
As well as plenty of comedy and fun premise, The Do-Over boasts action that’s both competent and inherently funny. Sandler proves his versatility as an actor yet again by delivering an impressive number of action scenes, with Spade acting as the comic relief throughout. This makes perfect use of the duo’s established dynamic, not wasting anything of their chemistry in translation.
Though it may not be Sandler’s most memorable film, The Do-Over is a genuinely enjoyable experience that deserves to be better appreciated. It serves as a fun and entertaining comedy that doubles as a competent action-thriller, with a number of solid (if immature) jokes peppered throughout. Though it may not have impressed critics, fans of Sandler and Spade will find their comfortable patter familiar and endearing, and The Do-Over‘s story is exciting enough to make it entirely worthwhile.
Summary: A passable action-comedy that makes proper use of its talented cast, The Do-Over deserves far more appreciation than it’s ever been given.
Highlights: Sandler shooting Michael Chiklis in the knee is an unexpected piece of comic brilliance, as is repeatedly hitting Nick Swardson with cars.