brian-mcgee - September 24, 2019
Adam Sandler doesn't "go serious" much, but when he does, he needs a solid director to guide him. His work in P.T. Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love is among the best of his career, but his introspective work can slip into naval gazing at the drop of a hat. For examples of the latter see—or rather, don't see—Spanglish, Reign Over Me, or The Cobbler.
His next trip into respectable territory comes courtesy of Benny and Josh Safdie, the directing duo behind Heaven Knows What and Good Time, which was easily the best movie of 2017. Uncut Gems finds Sandler playing dubious diamond dealer Howard, whose life goes to hell in one night when he lets NBA superstar Kevin Garnett borrow a huge diamond and all of his debtors come around to collect on the perennially in debt Howard.
It has the potential to be a potent combination as the Safdie brothers love ratcheting up tension by putting their characters in seemingly inescapable scenarios, and Sandler is at his best when he's playing someone in over his head. If Sandler's dead to you, I get it. He's more or less dead to me, but that doesn't mean I'll turn my nose up at the chance to see him do what he does best.
Uncut Gems opens in limited release on December 13, before going wider on Christmas Day.
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