Perhaps one of the most damning statements you can make about a film is that Adam Sandler is not the biggest problem with it. His latest movie The Cobbler, directed by Thomas McCarthy, whose previous writing credits include Pixar’s Up suffers from perhaps having the worst script of the year so far.
The premise of The Cobbler is one that, in the right hands could have been quite promising. Sandler plays Max Simkin, a cobbler who works in the lower east side of New York. One day Simkin decides to try out out a pair of his customers shoes, only to find that if he puts them on he transforms into the customer and gets to see the world through their point of view. Now the idea of not judging someone until you have walked in their shoes is a popular one, a line about the fable even opens The Great Gatsby, so a proper exploration of the idea could have proved interesting.
Instead of anything even approaching profound however Simkin uses his ability to perve on girls, commit casual crimes and play pranks on the barber next door. What makes The Cobbler so despicable however is the casual racism and constant tonal misfires that plague it through out. Through out the film Simkin embodies various African American characters, all of whom manage to get themselves in some petty crime in one way or another, whilst another scene where Simkin decides not to get into a shower with an attractive woman chooses not to use the scenario as a moral dilemma for him, instead it chooses to play on the fact that to do so he would have to remove his shoes and in doing so no longer be able to join the woman in the shower.
Instead of even attempting to put some sort of moral into the film it instead just chooses to make countless jokes, all of which are either misjudged or just terribly unfunny. Sandler has strayed away from his usual fart jokes but they have been replaced with jokes that are perhaps even worse. The body swap comedy/drama genre has always been a tough one to crack but this film just resorts to the laziest stereotypes it can think of as quickly as it can.
To his credit Sandler is not terrible in the lead role and at least attempts to play it with a straight face, something that makes The Cobbler even more frustrating. It manages to waste a pretty promising cast, one that includes Steve Buscemi, Dustin Hoffman and Dan Stevens, all of whom I would have expected better from.
The Cobbler is one of the worst films Sandler has ever been in and that is quite the statement to make. Stay well away.