By Darin Skaggs
Thomas MaCarthy has made several critically acclaimed movies including The Visitor, The Station Agent and Win Win. They are known for compelling characters and touching human moments. Adam Sandler is a comedian that has not made critically acclaimed movies. He has made bad and unfunny films like Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2 and Jack and Jill. They both have come together to make a new film, The Cobbler, and have compromised both of their type of film to make one of the most mediocre pieces of work brought to the world in a long while.
Sandler plays Max Simkin, who repairs shoes in his shop that has been in his family for four generations. He does not do much else instead taking care of his mother and talking to the barber next door who is played by Steve Buscemi. After his machine breaks down he digs up his father’s old hand held shoe repairer so he can fix a mean thugs expensive shoes, that’s Leon Ludlow played by Method Man. While waiting long after closing for this man Max decides to try on Ludlow’s shoes due to being the same size as his. When he does, however he finds that he takes on his appearance. In fact any shoe he tries on he takes on the appearance. Sandler of course uses this for good after messing around for most of the movie.
It is true Adam Sandler goes around using his new found power, thankfully all of his customers have the same shoe size, going around trying to get lucky, becomes a black man and steals someone else’s shoes and scares people by turning in a customer that has apparently passed away, so he is decaying. He also uses the power of the shoes to become his deceased father to give his mother a last date with him. This moment is touching and his father is played by Dustin Hoffman. There is a great montage of dancing, a nice dinner and laughing about the old times which Hoffman does perfectly. A jarring moment comes next, but is a nice touch, that the mother dies the next morning. She is older and not all herself. It could be viewed that she is like a dying person waiting for their loved one to show up so they can finally move on, but she is waiting for someone who has already left this world. In this unique moment of the film Max gives his mother peace and will to leave this Earth for the next. There are little moments hidden in the offensive accidental racism and creepy actions by Max that are touching.
Sandler does fine in the role, he does seem to be trying, but every other actor that he becomes does a pretty good impression of Sandler. The film does not have many funny moments, the attempts at them mostly fall flat, but it is the little details that brighten the movie a bit. A character is murdered and a few days later Max puts his shoes on. He takes on the appearance of the current state of person so he is paler and they comment that he is starting to give off a bad odor. The ending is pretty jarring and tries to connect all the dots that kept being proclaimed as not yet connected yet. It does not totally make sense and it is the cheesiest moment in a film attempting to be genuinely emotional. Unfortunately, it makes an underwhelming picture that does not do enough to infuriate either.