Sort of like a Super-Sour Ball, Adam Sandler is sweet on the inside, tart and tawdry on the outside. Click to skip ahead to our review of his latest comedy.
Michael Newman is tired of his rat-race life, but it seems there's little he can do about it. To provide for his beautiful wife, Donna, and two kids, the architect feels he must do whatever it takes to climb the corporate ladder—including skipping out on the very thing he's trying to support: his family.
Needing to watch a video for a work project, Michael runs out late one night to replace his TV's remote control. As he shops, he encounters a mysterious man who offers him a remote for free, yet warns him about its strange powers. It doesn't take long for Michael to discover that this device can actually control real life. Tired of hearing the dog bark? Michael just points, clicks and turns the mutt's vocal cords down. Feeling a little peaked and pale? He gives himself a tan using color controls. Fed up with arguing with the wife? He simply skips to the next "chapter." And that's when things really rev up. By fast-forwarding through unwanted experiences, Michael finds he can cut straight to the rewards—suave looks without showers, sex without cuddling, job promotions without work.
The little blue stick ends up having a mind of its own, though. With Michael's every press of a button, it's been programming itself according to his preferences. By the time he's done thoughtlessly whizzing through the mundane minutia of days, weeks and months, much to his dismay, he discovers that the remote has decided he wants to continue rocketing through life, and it sticks on fast-forward. Unfortunately for Michael, the future he's rapidly skipping ahead to doesn't look so bright.
Click tries hard to remind us to appreciate our todays. Soak up every moment we have, it says, and cherish the relationships that matter most. Life is about appreciating the moment—good or bad—rather than always looking for what's over the horizon.
For Michael, that means reprioritizing his life. When his wife complains about his workaholic tendencies, he earnestly enumerates his reasons for spending so much time at the office. I'm not out drinking or gambling or picking up chicks, I'm working hard for my family, he says. But, as we all know, that's not the right answer, either. Donna's wise words ring out loud and clear: Pay attention to the things and to the people that matter.
In fact, throughout the story, Donna shows admirable attributes. She repeatedly puts the kids' desires first, reminding Michael of his promises to them. She tries to comfort her husband during a tough time. And when a single friend suggests that artificially enhancing her appearance may cause Michael to hang around more, she responds with an affirmation of the couple's secure love. "Michael knows he's my one and only," she later adds.
Showing her desperation to have her father around, Michael's young daughter asks if there's anything she and her brother can do to help him with his work. In the future, Michael's family members are still willing to express love for Michael, even when he's treated them badly. Click also reminds parents that their kids are watching. Without Michael realizing, his son imitates his every move—particularly his unhealthy habits (chief among them, eating junk food and swearing).
Morty, the mysterious inventor-like character who hangs out in the "Beyond" and "Way Beyond" back rooms of a Bed Bath & Beyond store, turns out to be—surprise!—an angel of death. (Get it? He's from beyond.) And though we later see that he has supernatural powers, there's no mention whatsoever of a higher power who's sent him. Michael, on the other hand, seems to blame God for his misfortunes, shaking his fist at the sky during one scene while asking God if He's "through with me—just for once."
Could it be true? A steady stream of crude jokes, double entendres and sexual sleaze in an Adam Sandler movie? Say it isn't so! Alas, cheating, illegitimacy, molestation, oral sex, workplace harassment and wet T-shirt contests are all fodder. A running gag that appears in virtually every other scene involves dogs "humping" a large stuffed animal. This visual excites Donna, which leads to bedroom invitations for Michael. A couple of times, while the remote zips through time in fast-forward, we see a shadow of Michael moving up and down on top of Donna (during one instance a small dog hops on his backside to join in). Michael and Donna talk and laugh about role-playing during sex and the length of their encounters.
A visit to the "making of" Michael takes him (and us) back to his parents' bedroom, where we hear the sounds of them creating him. Michael, seeing their tangled legs, initially asks, "Is this a porno or something?" Then he discovers who's under the sheets. When Michael is born (for a brief moment Michael, Morty and the camera catch a glimpse of the doctor from inside) there's lots of ribbing about how small his penis was.
In a creepier than usual scene (as if being inside a womb wasn't enough already) Morty ogles Donna's physique in Michael's presence. (Michael seems to have no problem with this.) Similarly, not recognizing his grown-up daughter, Michael calls her a "looker" and describes her as "chesty."
Michael slows down time to zoom in on a busty woman jogging. Other women's cleavage is highlighted throughout the movie. Donna dons tight-fitting nightwear. Men are shown in their underwear. One wears a very small and tight Speedo. A sight gag involves the universal remote being found in Michael's pants and played off as an erection. Add to this mess several gay and sex-change jokes.
A few instances involve Michael freezing time in order to inflict pain on others. After being treated unfairly, he slaps his boss several times. Later, he's even more violent with Donna's new husband, kicking him repeatedly in the crotch. (That's after he tries choking him in real time.) When a bratty kid makes fun of his son, Michael arranges things so the taunter gets hit in the face with a baseball. (Especially disturbing is the fact that both father and son stand there laughing as the boy runs off hurt.) Michael also purposefully drives over this boy's expensive toy.
Michael tries to tackle Morty, but ends up falling down. He smashes into a table, breaking it. He also falls backward when a dog jumps on him, causing him to hit his head. A nurse gets pushed with a needle in hand, sending it into his own arm.
Crude or Profane Language
The f-word is said once and gets (not-quite) cut off another time. The s-word appears nearly a dozen times (and is also used by kids). God's name is interjected inappropriately almost 20 times (twice it's combined with "d--n"), and Jesus' gets misused twice. Almost three-dozen milder profanities are uttered, including a handful of sexually crude terms. Rude hand gestures are made.
Drug and Alcohol Content
When Michael experiences the real-life power of the universal control for the first time, he chalks it up to an acid trip caused by mixing large doses of cough medicine with sugary snacks. His strange behavior prompts his young daughter to ask him if he's smoked crack. Michael tells the brat's mother that the kid has been smoking a cigar laced with marijuana. Michael's mother tells her son to "stay off the bong pipe."
A bar scene shows beer bottles, and toasts at a workplace party and a wedding both include people drinking champagne. Michael suggests to a group of clients that they head to a restaurant where they can do Jell-O shots till they "puke."
Other Negative Elements
Angry at how he's been treated at work, Michael takes it out on his young son, even screaming an obscenity at him. After his son and daughter try to help him with his work, he lambastes their efforts as "stupid." Later, the young kids dismiss watching "kiddie" programs on TV, instead opting for a gory CSI episode.
A dog is briefly shown relieving itself. Michael plants his boss's face in his backside, breaking wind while time is paused. He also makes a hand gesture as if he were shooting himself in the head. His boss jokingly makes a comment about slitting his wrists, and a work client sarcastically speaks of castrating himself. In the future, Michael discovers that one of his company's overworked partners committed suicide after the stress of the job got to him.
As a kid, I remember loving Super-Sour Balls. They were massive, tennis ball-sized candy orbs that took days, sometimes weeks to eat. I'd slobber through that hard outside layer lick by lick, my face puckering with each tart taste. And at times I'd wonder if I would ever finish. But after hours of patience and perseverance (not to mention wasted time), eventually I'd work my way to the tiny, sweet core made of pure bubble gum. It was the Mount Everest of candy adventures, and obviously, I wanted to savor the moment of triumph. Unfortunately, the makers of Super-Sour Balls had other plans—the gum usually lasted for all of five minutes.
I can't help but think of Click as a giant Super-Sour Ball. Here is a genuinely creative idea—albeit a mishmash of concepts from Back to the Future, It's a Wonderful Life and Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. A man gets taken on a journey through his life and discovers that what he's living for isn't really what he wants. In the process of visiting his future, he finds he'd much rather treasure his today and those around him who make that today so wonderful.
Sweet message. And for the scant few moments it can be savored, Click conveys it with gusto. One poignant scene (almost an oxymoron considering Sandler's presence) involves Michael rewinding again and again his elderly father saying, "I love you" to his future self—despite the fact that Michael is undeserving of such affection at that point. It's a tragically beautiful picture of the desire that exists in each of us to be cherished.
And now for the surrounding super-sour part. Nonstop sexual jabs and eyesores. Foul language, much of which is heard escaping from the mouths of kids. Mean-spirited kicks to the crotch. And unwanted drug references.
Believe me, I wanted to like this movie. It's been a while since I've seen a flick with core messages so uplifting and valuable for our worked-to-death society. I wanted to laugh, cry and leave the theater with a desire to love my family more and live every day as if it were my last. Instead, I left wishing I had one of those nifty universal remotes for myself—so I could skip all the tart and tawdry stuff and chew on the five minutes that are worth clicking to.