It pains me that Adam Sander, whose comedy cassette tapes I used to listen to on a loop, whose movies I enjoyed SO much I listened to them on cassette tapes on car trips, has become a big lazy dummy who nonetheless thrives in Hollywood. Why must we live to see our comedy heroes become embarassments? (Or worse.)
While promoting his new movie Pixels, Sandler defended to Screen Crush his upcoming Netflix film The Ridiculous Six, a Western parody that’s earned scads of bad headlines when Native American extras walked off the set with claims that the production was disrespecting them and their heritage. There have been reports of putting make-up on black and Asian talent so they might play the Native American roles. The project’s cultural consultant quit because he felt he was a figure head, ignored completely. And in response to all this, Sandler offers you this:
“I talked to some of the actors on the set who were there and let them know that the intention of the movie is 100% to just make a funny movie. It’s really about American Indians being good to my character and about their family and just being good people. There’s no mocking of American Indians at all in the movie. It’s a pro-Indian movie. So hopefully when people see it — whoever was offended on set and walked out, I hope they realize that, and that’s it. It was kinda taken out of context.”
Okay. We’ve talked before about Sandler being lazy in his work. You can see it in sloppy, lowest-common-denominator comedies like Blended and Grown-Ups. You can see it in how he dresses for work functions where he knows damn well he will be photographed for his film’s publicity. But to go into a junket, where this Ridiculous Six scandal was bound to come up and have not prepared a better statement that this might be a new low.
Let’s break it down piece by piece:
“I talked to some of the actors on the set who were there and let them know that the intention of the movie is 100% to just make a funny movie.”
Did he not see how poorly Kevin Hart’s “funny is funny” defense played when Get Hard was accused of homophobic humor? Apparently not.
“There’s no mocking of American Indians at all in the movie.”
We know there’s a character named “Beaver’s Breath” and another named “No Bra.” So, wrong.
“It’s a pro-Indian movie.”
Adam, they are Native Americans or American Indians. These distinctions matter. Yes, you are making a Western, and we (culturally insensitive for generations) Americans do describe those movies as being about cowboys and Indians. But YOU were talking about a race of people who’ve had members speak out about the film’s willful cluelessness or arguable disdain for their cultural identity. And this quote alone proves their concerns are valid.
Sandler has a big platform to create comedy and films that could get a huge audience. And like Conan, we wish he’d try harder to do something great with it.
Kristy Puchko feels weird feeling wistful over Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore.