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January 8, 2007 |

By Daniel Carlson | Industry | January 8, 2007 |

I think we can all agree that if Adam Sandler ever actually had a peak as a comedian, it was at least 10 years ago. Sure, we all laughed and wondered if maybe he had some kind of learning impairment when he serenaded his red hooded sweatshirt (shama lama ding-dong) on “Saturday Night Live.” We giggled as youths to his comedy records showcasing skits like “The Longest Pee,” “The Beating of a High School Spanish Teacher,” and “Do It For Mama.” And yes, 1996’s Happy Gilmore is among the holy trinity of 1990s-era scatological, juvenile comedies (the others being Tommy Boy and Dumb and Dumber). But Sandler’s emerging dual personalities sealed his fate. Some days he was an actor bordering on genuine drama, but most of the time he kept churning out low-concept vehicles with wafer-thin plots and clumsy set-ups. He’s Barry Egan, and he’s Mr. Deeds. How am I supposed to take him seriously when he can’t do it himself? How am I supposed to reconcile the earnest protagonist of Spanglish with the moronic “hero” of Click? I can’t. It’s simply impossible. Sandler’s got another saccharine drama coming out soon, the September-11-flavored Reign Over Me (mmm, tragerrific!), so to balance that out, Columbia Pictures has nabbed the script for You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, written by Sandler, Judd Apatow, and Robert Smigel. Dig the logline: Sandler is set to star as a Mossad agent who fakes his death to move to New York and become a hairstylist.

Sandler plays a Mossad agent. Who fakes his death. To move to New York. And become a hairstylist.

I’m at a loss. Apatow’s involvement is almost a surprise, since the mind behind “Freaks & Geeks” shouldn’t be anywhere near the guy who wrote the sketch “Sex or Weight Lifting.” The film is almost guaranteed to suck; look for a prominent cameo from Rob Schneider shortly before the apocalypse swallows us all.

Well, moving on. It’s been a rough week for superhero movies, folks. First, Joss Whedon gets the boot from Wonder Woman, pretty much guaranteeing you’re going to see a Browncoat arrested for firebombing the Warners lot in a misguided attempt at retaliation. Now, in all its questionable wisdom, Warners has announced that Shawn Levy has come on board to direct its upcoming version of The Flash. David Goyer, co-writer of Batman Begins, was attached to write and direct the project but has since parted ways with the studio, which has decided to go with a lighter version of the tale. Levy is best known as the director of The Pink Panther, Cheaper by the Dozen, Night at the Museum, and pretty much every other movie you’ve hated in the past few years. No word yet on whether John Wesley Shipp will appear in the film, but I’ve got a sinking feeling that Ben Stiller’s going to get involved. The horror … the horror.

Last but certainly not least: The trailer’s out for Judd Apatow’s upcoming comedy, Knocked Up. The red-band version is a whopper at three minutes and delves too deeply into the plot specifics, but the shorter international teaser manages to capture the subversive sweetness and sexual humor that made The 40-Year-Old Virgin so great. Granted, it takes a willful suspension of disbelief to not scoff at a universe, albeit a fictional one, where Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl could hook up — no world, no life, no Creator is that kind. Regardless, I’ll be there opening night, and I know I’ll laugh every minute:

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a low-level employee at a Hollywood industry magazine. You can visit his blog, Slowly Going Bald.

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