In Judd Apatow's excellent 2009 film Funny People, Adam Sandler plays George Simmons, a dying Hollywood sell-out who rediscovers his love of standup comedy and, in turn, his true purpose as a comic and a human.
The script took plenty of wink/nudge jabs at Sandler's own questionable IMDB page.
He apparently learned nothing. Sandler, who began his career in standup before landing Saturday Night Live in 1990, has regressed almost to the point of self-parody.
Some stuff holds up (Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, the aberrational role in Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love), and his early silliness will forever hold a place in millennial hearts. But a boilerplate formula has dictated the past 15 years of Sandler's career: apply a lazy, mean-spirited script to a desirable vacation destination; cast your barely trying buddies; rake in ticket sales and product-placement fees.
In 2014, Netflix signed Sandler to an exclusive deal, and his movies -- including last year's utterly unwatchable The Do-Over -- have somehow gotten even worse, though subscribers can't stop watching them.
A.V. Club writer Nathan Rabin captured late-era Sandler nicely with his 2015 piece "Has Adam Sandler’s contempt for his audience sunk his box-office draw?"
But back to standup! Could Sandler be plotting a back-to-his-roots career resurrection?
Probably not, but he is performing a super-rare standup gig on June 21 outdoors at Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Welch, Minnesota. Tickets to the "Here Comes the Funny Tour" -- which also features pals David Spade, Nick "Pride of Minnesota" Swardson, and Rob Schneider -- go on sale 10 a.m. Friday for $99-$149 via Ticketmaster.
Maybe you'll catch the light-bulb moment when Sandler realizes there's more to comedy than gay-panic jokes and cashing checks -- wouldn't that be funny?