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Film review: The Cobbler - Adam Sandler comedy a stinker

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 May, 2015, 11:29pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 May, 2015, 11:29pm

You don't want to be in Adam Sandler's shoes right now. On the heels of two films (Men, Women & Children and Blended) that met with critical indifference and financial disappointment, the actor has come out with The Cobbler, a horrendous comedy minus the laughs.

Max Simkin (Sandler) is a fourth-generation shoe repairman who can physically transform into the owners of the soles he has stitched — as long as it's done with his family's antique sewing machine. The Brooklyn-set film follows his naughty experiments with the discovery before coasting through some inert dramatic arcs.

Those include Simkin's efforts to reunite his ailing mother (Lynn Cohen) with her long-vanished husband (Dustin Hoffman); to mess with a neighbourhood gangster (Clifford "Method Man" Smith) who turns out to be very dangerous; and to help a community activist (Melonie Diaz) stop a landowner's (Ellen Barkin) sleazy gentrification plans.

Co-scripted (with Paul Sado) and directed by Thomas McCarthy, who made three good films ( The Station Agent, The Visitor and Win Win) before this dud, The Cobbler's magic-realist premise is so underdeveloped it doesn't even acknowledge the icky paradoxes created by the body-swapping antics.

A predictable if cringingly sentimental final twist — involving Steve Buscemi's ultra-caring barber next door — confirms the laziness of McCarthy and Sado, on whom their cast can fairly heap the lion's share of shame.

The Cobbler opens on May 28