Ridiculous is as Ridiculous does…
It’s Sandler versus Tarantino in a battle of the adjectives. SPOILER ALERT: Tarantino wins.
So you’re going to call your movie THE RIDICULOUS 6? An unsubtle spoof of the title of Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming humbucker, THE HATEFUL 8. In what universe are audiences unaware of this? It’s not even a spoof on the Tarantino movie itself, just a dig at its title, a joke so sophomoric and misleading that the filmmakers shoot themselves in the foot right outa the gate.
With a title like THE RIDICULOUS 6, we’re expecting a satire on Tarantino’s stylish violence, a mincing of his devil dialogue, a lampooning of his cinematic signature… we’re expecting a comedy of the highest order. And when we say highest, we don’t mean how baked the writers were. And when we say comedy, we mean Rob Schneider shouldn’t be anywhere within puking distance. Unfortunately, co-writers Tim Herlihy and Adam Sandler must’ve been on some good shit to write something so bad and think it was good shit. And Rob Schneider is here. So the path between Netflix and my bathroom becomes puking distance.
So RIDICULOUS 6 has nothing to do with Tarantino’s movie (except for marginally being a Western); rather, a simpering farce about a Caucasian raised by Native Americans (Sandler) who joins forces with five half-brothers (discovered individually when they reveal their name to be Stockburn, sired by the same father from different mothers) on a journey to rescue their mythic pater, Frank Stockburn (Nick Nolte, wheezing and gulping lungfuls of oxygen like he’s about to keel over). 83 weak jokes, 45 aborted jokes and 325 non-jokes later, we realize this “comedy” is failing because it is trying to be two movies in one: a poignant tale of familial love juxtaposed over a comedic road tale where nothing is funny.
Sandler himself actually gives a fine straight-man performance as Tommy aka White Knife, rasping like Clint Eastwood, adept at everything manly – like a MISSION IMPOSSIBLE guy – whose superhuman skills in combat and knife-play leave everyone agog, with the refrain, “Man, that was some mystical shit!”
Through a series of misadventures, White Knife discovers his brothers, who are identified simply by mentioning their last name. Everybody just accepts it as truth. No one checks birth certificates or does anything Republican. And each new brah willingly joins the quest to find their dad, because I guess in the Old West there was really nothing better to do. There’s Terry Crews (who confesses he’s black), Jorge Garcia (who looks like director Kevin Smith and communicates in unintelligible grunts – like Kevin Smith), Taylor Lautner (who is surprisingly hilarious as the crossbreed of Forrest Gump and Simple Jack), Luke Wilson (miscast, looking for a way out), and Schneider (whom we will speak no more of).
Directed by Frank Coraci (veteran of attempted comedies like ZOOKEEPER and HERE COMES THE BOOM, and the last Sandler belch-fart, BLENDED), RIDICULOUS boasts a cavalcade of droll cameos that keep it watchable (read as distracting from the weak comedy of the actual stars): John Turturro with an impeccable British accent, inventing baseball; Steve Zahn gouging out his only good right eye to be a part of The Left Eye Gang; Harvey Keitel as town sheriff Smiley (a Tarantino crossover!); Danny Trejo, Jon Lovitz, Whitney Cummings, Julia Jones, Will Forte, Nick Swardson, David Spade as Custer, Vanilla Ice as Mark Twain; and the most gross-out funniest cameo by Steve Buscemi as the town barber with all-purpose ointment – a fistful to swab a donkey’s ass with lube, then putting the remaining swab directly into Taylor Lautner’s mouth as soothing lip balm. Wolfboy enjoys.
The tone of RIDICULOUS resembles another Sandler absurdist comedy, YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN (2008), which succeeded because Sandler found a sweet spot for playing it straight with a funny premise. He is most tolerable when he’s playing adept, as in ZOHAN – a fighter, a lover, a he-man. Under its authentic Western-styled soundtrack (by Rupert Gregson-Williams and Elmo Weber), RIDICULOUS might have been a revealing, serio-comic role for Sandler, had it not been for the uneven tone of the movie and the lack of conviction from his supporting players. Especially mouse-talented Rob Schneider, playing a Mexican like the best racist you ever saw.
Tell Tarantino he needs to be afraid. Be very afraid. Because THE RIDICULOUS 6 is going to challenge his film making skills, i.e. if he watches it, he’ll be too dumb to direct anymore…