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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Adam Sandler

The most famous comedian in Spain will be Adam Sandler's lover

November 9, 2010 |  4:26 pm

Jac
Now there's a headline we've always wanted to write. Santiago Segura, who's known to fans of international comedy through the Spanish-language "Torrente" films, will play opposite Adam Sandler in Sandler's next film, "Jack and Jill," two people familiar with the project said Tuesday.

The comedy, which has just begun shooting, has Sandler playing both parts in the new spin on the classic nursery rhyme. He's both family man Jack and will cross-dress as Jill, Jack's annoying sister, who comes for a visit and won't leave. Segura will play Jill's beau.

The Jose Luis Torrente character that Segura made famous (in Spain) is an unsavory, racist cop who angrily patrols his neighborhood even after he's been let go from the force. (You can see a subtitled clip below, though it's not the most representative.) The first three Torrente films have been huge hits in Spain, and a fourth is on the way. There's also an English-language remake that Sacha Baron Cohen is attached to. Segura has had bit parts in "Hellboy" and a few other English-language movies, but this would be by far his biggest comedy role.

"Jack and Jill" already has one of the more unusual casts out there -- Regis Philbin and Shaquille O'Neal have bit parts, among others. A man known for playing an angry, mustachioed Spanish policeman couldn't make things that much weirder.

— Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Sandler in "Jack and Jill." Credit: Just Jared.


Just how did Adam Sandler's 'Grown Ups' become a hit?

June 29, 2010 |  4:51 pm

Grown
Hollywood, as cheerleaders for "Toy Story 3" and other animated movies constantly note, is with increasing success making movies that are about kids but that contain adult themes and humor.

But it turns out that Hollywood is also pretty adroit at making movies that are about adults but that contain kid themes and humor.

Sony's Adam Sandler laugh riot "Grown Ups" should have been part of the Great Retread Recession of 2010. After all, nearly every new release of the last few months that has tried to recycle an old idea ("The A-Team," "Sex and the City 2" "Iron Man 2")  has disappointed. And there's nothing that deserves the label of retread more than the reunion comedy of "Grown Ups" -- starring Sandler, Kevin James, David Spade, Rob Schneider and Chris Rock as 40-ish-year-old friends who get together to catch up on old times and make a few fat jokes -- which trots out Sandler's puerile comedy for yet another go-round.

Yet that Retread Recession rule hasn't applied to "Grown Ups." The low-brow subgenre to which the movie belongs was shown to be as vibrant as ever this weekend with a $41 million opening -- good enough for the fifth-highest opening of the summer and the highest Sandler opening among his last seven pictures (and ahead of all-time Sandler hits such as "50 First Dates" and "The Waterboy"). The box-office total means about 5 million Americans bought tickets this weekend to see "Grown Ups" -- though to paraphrase Rock's old joke about Spice Girls album sales, I can't find a single person who'll admit it.

So, in a time when audiences are saying enough is enough to old ideas, how did this movie buck the trend?

We spoke with a few distribution experts and movie veterans, and they offered numerous theories. There's the one that Sandler is back in a comedy that's recognizably him (apparently, "Funny People" reminded these filmgoers that they liked Sandler, but not enough for them to like the movie).

Or the theory that many of the men who went to see "Grown Ups" recognized some of themselves  in it. These would be the thirty- and fortysometings who look back fondly, with no small amount of gross-out pleasure, on their adolescence, and at Sandler, the living embodiment of it. (These are, incidentally, the same men who propelled the gross-out nostalgia of "Hot Tub Time Machine" to a not terrible opening.) Bolstering this theory is Sony's data that nearly half the "Grown Ups" audience was over age 25.

"Grown Ups" is also a comedy in a summer that's been bereft of them -- there's no "Hangover" this season, and only one modest entry from the prolific Judd Apatow machine, "Get Him to the Greek." Some of the success may also be due to the film's marketing, which has hammered home the idea that if you come to see this movie, you are getting a boatload of likable stars for one ticket, as good a discount as there is in a time when moviegoers feel they've been throwing away their money.

But the most interesting  explanation may lie with a surprising Sony number: More women saw the movie than men (about 52% to 48%, according to the studio). On its face, that one's a head-scratcher. You wouldn't think that women would see themselves in the male characters or, for that matter, in the characters of the one-dimensional wives and girlfriends.

But several of the characters in the film have young families, a point the campaign smartly hit on  by showing children asking naive questions ("Daddy, what's wasted?"). Those are easy and broad jokes, but they're relatable -- and it just might have convinced women and mothers of young children that this was a movie worth seeing, or at least tolerating.

Summer 2010 isn't going to be remembered for many great movies. After "Grown Ups," it won't even be remembered for many middling ones. But in a time when very modest creative effort can lead to respectable box office results, Sandler proves, once again, that he is a man of the zeitgeist.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Sony Pictures

Find more middlebrow analysis of lowbrow pop-culture at http://twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

RECENT AND RELATED:

Toy Story 3 remains No. 1

Movie review: Grown Ups

Sony will open the doors on Adam Sandler's 'Zookeeper' nine months later




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Sony will open the cage doors on 'Zookeeper' nine months later

April 27, 2010 |  4:59 pm

The 2011 spring and summer movie-going period is already looking bigger, badder and more spectacle-driven than previous springs and summers, which is saying something. Films such as the Marvel action movie "Thor," the next "Pirates of the Caribbean," "The Hangover" sequel and the fourth "Mission: Impossible" are already tentatively scheduled for release -- and that's just in May.

James Now Sony is dropping another star-driven title into the mix. It will move the Kevin James- Adam Sandler comedy "The Zookeeper" out of its Oct. 8 date and to July 8.

The film features live-action animals voiced by a group of stars (Sandler, Jon Favreau and Sylvester Stallone, to name several) as they help the titular zookeeper (James) land the woman of his dreams. Sony several weeks ago took over distribution duties from co-financier MGM, as the latter faces a lack of capital and a cloudy fate. And after testing the film last week, Sony has now decided that a summer release date accommodated its larger ambitions.

The movie's new date does come in a very crowded corridor, a week after “Transformers 3” and four days before the second part of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is released. Sony is clearly hoping its comedy will stand out amid the two big-budget event films. “It plays like a big, big summer movie and this move is all about the opportunity,” said Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures' distribution president.

What this means for another Sony project remains an open question. The studio had quietly spread the word in the development community for the last few weeks that it had a slot open for a summer tentpole and was considering moving forward on "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune," the adaptation of a popular video game, for a summer 2011 release. We'll see if "Zookeeper" fills its need or if it still wants another creature to feed.

--Ben Fritz and Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Adam Sandler and Kevin James. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images


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