Netflix’s recent entry into the Hong Kong market was greeted with much delight, until people discovered the catalog resembled the bargain bin at Walmart. (Still trying to decide if it’s an Aloha or Jackass kind of night.) To be fair, there’s a choice documentary selection, and Ken Burns’s The West turns out to be the best cleanse if you’ve had the misfortune of imbibing The Ridiculous 6, the relentlessly promoted first installment of Netflix’s four picture deal with noted auteur Adam Sandler. It might be aiming for the smallest slice of Blazing Saddles glory, but the unamusing farce about a mismatched gang of robbers is an embarrassment to the western and comedy genres.
Already the subject of controversy during its filming, the finished product does nothing to redeem itself. Native American actors were right to storm off set and divorce themselves from characters with names like Never Wears Bra or Smoking Fox (Julia Jones). When they weren’t being mocked for their physical characteristics, however, they characters were transformed into noble savages, always on hand with a piece of abstract wisdom or a mystical remedy so that Tommy “White Knife” (Sandler), the adopted white son of a Native family and the film’s hero, could save the day. It also shouldn’t surprise that so few women appear in the movie, and those who do are mostly of the painted variety, merely there to be paraded atop men’s shoulders or so that a cowboy might dive headfirst first into her décolletage.
That’s about the sophistication of the humor, par for course for Sandler films. Unless you’re into extended jokes about horses pleasuring mentally challenged teens or equally prolonged decapitation scenes, then you’ll find little to laugh about here. I’m not even sure this plays that well to the frat house crowd. In fact, the antics are suited for a far younger audience, and stripped of its vulgarity, it might be a framework for a passable kids movie.
Like many G-rated adventures, this one revolves around an unlikely group of friends – Tommy, Ramon (Rob Schneider), Chico (Terry Crews), Lil’ Pete (a very un-Team-Jacob-like Taylor Lautner), Herm (Jorge Garcia), and Danny (Luke Wilson) – that embarks on a quest to save a kidnapped man. They soon discover that they are actually brothers and the man they are trying to save is their father (Nick Nolte), and that they must steal the ransom. The Ridiculous 6 is so packed with cameos, however, that not even the brothers turn out anything beyond a one-note performance. Even with its two hour running time, the film makes no room for introspection, leaving most of the main characters as faintly drawn as the minor roles. In fact, Abner Doubleday (John Turturro) shows more flare attempting to invent the game of baseball on the fly than the wordless, grunting Herm, and Vanilla Ice as a hip hop Mark Twain seems oddly appropriate in this age of Hamilton (though as a Hamilton fangirl, I am in no way equating the two). The pleasures are fleeting though, and nothing justifies such abuse of American scenery, the best and only thing going for this movie.
Prod: Allen Covert, Adam Sandler
Dir: Frank Coraci
Writer: Tim Herlihy, Adam Sandler
Cast: Adam Sandler, Terry Crews, Jorge Garcia, Taylor Lautner, Rob Schneider, Luke Wilson, Nick Nolte, Will Forte, Steve Zahn, Harvey Keitel, Jon Lovitz, Danny Trejo, Julia Jones, Blake Shelton…..and so many more damn cameos
Time: 119 min
Country: United States