Speculative Fiction Saturday: The Cobbler

The CobblerOkay, I think this might be the first Adam Sandler film that I have reviewed here. I’m guessing it won’t be the last because I want to see Pixels, even though I might wait to rent it.

So, I realize that Adam Sandler has a reputation for using dumb humor. Films like Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and more established that he has done a lot of films that aren’t really intellectually challenging, but are funny. Personally, I think his 2002 film Mr. Deeds is one of the funniest films ever made. Even though it is said that he is talentless, it actually takes a lot of talent to do what he does, and I respect that. I saw his dramatic film Punch Drunk Love, and he was quite good, but I get the feeling that people want him to do comedic roles, like Jim Carrey and Robin Williams. He also had a chance to really play some drama in Click, which isn’t really speculative fiction, and is more about life than a lot of movies.

I have to admit that I didn’t hear about The Cobbler when it came out. Normally, Sandler puts out at least one movie a year, and it is usually promoted well. Generally, his films have a lot of cheap laughs but often a lot of heart, but his most recent offerings like That’s My Boy, Grown-Ups 2, as well as Jack and Jill are starting to become infamous in how bad they are. I get the feeling that The Cobbler was an experimental film to see if he can do drama, but he already has, so I’m not really certain what the point of this film is as far as Sandler’s normal Hollywood agenda.

The film is about a cobbler who lives in a New York shop in a neighborhood that is going downhill. He can barely keep business, and his traditional shoe-mending machine breaks down, forcing him to use an older machine that has special powers. Sandler’s character, Max Simkin, can put on the shoes of other people, and he becomes that person.

This magic realism concept is downplayed, as there is not any special effects for it. He just puts on the shoes, and there is a cut to the other actor. It is very simple, and without spoiling too much, he uses his supernatural ability to help out the people around him.

If you think that this is film is like a superhero movie from my description, you would be right. I don’t think that this is the intention of this film, though. Without revealing too much, the film has an ending that could easily be a set up for a sequel, a TV series, or an entire franchise full of possibilities. I would recommend watching it as a stand-alone film, and seeing if you can enjoy it, because I will admit that I did.

Personally, I think that The Cobbler is one of those films that has a point to it, but I just don’t see it. I think that years later I will realize what the film is truly trying to say, and I hope that I will be able to put it into words.