After the cinematic horror show that was the ill-conceived Pixels, Adam Sandler was banished to the world of streaming and will not be allowed back into theaters until his penance of four movies is paid! Okay, the four movie deal with Netflix was already underway before Pixels (or even Hotel Transylvania 2) was released, but considering how absolutely dreadful his career has been with the movies under the Happy Madison umbrella, it really does feel like he needs to be taken out of the spotlight for a while just to see if the change in scenery will bring some life back to him and his chosen profession. Is The Ridiculous 6 the movie that will finally bring him back to top form, or is this yet another pointless exercise from a man who gave up on being funny a long time ago? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with, what else, RACISM!! Seriously!? I can’t even get thirty seconds into an Adam Sandler joint before I’m itching to turn the damn thing off!?
You know what? Maybe I’m being too harsh this soon into the movie. Maybe this is supposed to give us a brief insight into the world we’re stepping into and what it is our heroes will be fighting against. Maybe Adam Sandler’s character will be just as horrified by these signs and this attitude because he understands the toxic environment that has allowed this ill will to foster and will do what he can to tear it down while elevating the voices of those oppressed. No wait, he walks into the general store wearing what appears to be a Native American Halloween costume and looking like a really sad Apache Chief, as in the guy from Super Friends and Harvey Birdman.
Having seen his tired ass performance in Pixels, it’s no surprise that Adam Sandler doesn’t even look like he wants to be here. He’s trying to do a Clint Eastwood growl, but his version of trying is… not trying. It’s just sad watching him go through the motions here without an ounce of heart or enjoyment. While he’s buying stuff from the racist store owner, his Native American girlfriend is outside being harassed by racist cowboys. Can you detect a theme here yet? Oh, and the girlfriend looks to be nineteen and is completely helpless; needing to be rescued by Adam Sandler because apparently the writers of this (including Sandler himself) have no sense of self-awareness or are anywhere near on the pulse of what people want and expect from movies nowadays. Did anyone bother to tell him during production of this that, whether it’s silly or not, the Save the Princess trope is SUPER uncomfortable when applied to white dudes saving their Native American brides? Then again, there was a literal trophy wife in the last movie he did so maybe he just doesn’t give a shit.
Okay, enough negativity. Let’s TRY to find something good here. Adam Sandler’s character in this clearly has superhuman powers, similar to his character Zohan Dvir from You Don’t Mess with the Zohan which is easily the last decent movie Happy Madison had a part in other than Funny People, but I barely even count that considering it’s an Apatow film that the production company glommed onto. Oh, and it’s no small coincidence that Zohan is the ONLY Happy Madison movie that Robert Smigel has a writing credit on. I don’t like the world their setting up, the character he’s playing, and the treatment of the female character (named Smoking Fox) in the scene, BUT trying to go with the super powered goofy action hero story MIGHT end up working. In fact, the first chuckle I got out of this movie was when he threw a carrot at the shop keeper and embedded it into his leg, though it was probably because it kind of reminded me of Shoot Em’ Up.
Well what the hell is this movie even about? Okay, after the opening scene at the trading post, We find out that Adam Sandler is named Tommy Stockburn and was adopted by an Apache tribe after his mother was murdered in front of him and he was left for dead. Naturally, he becomes the most popular and well trained member of the tribe and gets the moniker “White Knife” because “White Knight” would actually be TOO on the nose for Happy Madison. Not long after he and his girlfriend (soon to be wife) return to the Apache village, they get visited by someone who claims to be Tommy’s father and it turns out the old bastard is dying from a cough or something. As a last minute atonement for never being there for his son, he tells him about a buried stash of fifty grand that is conveniently located nearby that they can dig up the next day. Plans change however when Papa’s band of thieves that he used to roll with (led by Danny Trejo) come storming into the village and demand the fifty grand for themselves. He agrees to take them to a place about ten days out where he says the money is buried which should give the tribe enough time to find the treasure and… I guess hire mercenaries or something to fend off the pissed off bandits when they come back? I don’t know, but Tommy has no luck finding it and instead decides to earn the fifty grand by robbing other people (because THAT sounds like a great idea) but instead of spending it on the tribe, he’ll use it to bargain his father’s life.
Alright, so the premise continues to work at least somewhat. We’ve got a classic western story here with a ticking clock and an excuse to show robberies of some fashion. Once again though, it’s all the stuff surrounding the premise that is REALLY uncomfortable and just betray how much Adam Sandler cannot write comedy anymore. I can’t even begin to tell you whether or not the Apache tribe here is portrayed accurately, but considering that there was a very public walk off during the filming of this movie by many of the Native American actors, I’m willing to guess that some things here aren’t very respectful. Even if it was an accurate recreation of their culture though, the fact that everyone there is fawning over the ONE white guy there and that women are throwing themselves at him (including someone named… Never Wears Bra… no, seriously) makes this really obnoxious and tone deaf. Things don’t improve much once he does leave the village, but at least it means we get away from that uncomfortableness. At this point, we’re basically just settling into a series of ludicrous and nonsensical events with a light dusting of old west tropes and iconography thrown in. Oh, and shit jokes. PLENTY of shit jokes. He goes into the nearest town, finds out the bank owner is an asshole (because of course he is) and decides it’s morally right to steal from him. He meets someone there who knew his father (because of course they did) and it turns out that she gave birth to his half-brother named Ramon played by Rob Schneider.
The thing is that I WANT to like Rob Schneider much more than most of the Happy Madison regulars simply because he is trying the hardest out of any of them to NOT be comedy poison. He just isn’t all that talented and his attempts to distance himself and forge new paths just don’t work out too well so he keeps having to come back to Adam Sandler to take roles like this where he’s wearing a poncho, stroking a donkey, and sporting a big fuck off Sanchez mustache. None of this is funny by the way, especially when Ramon’s donkey starts shitting out explosive diarrhea.
So on top of the quest to save his daddy, Tommy’s also gonna find out about all the other bastards his father conceived (I’m guessing four more) which isn’t a bad idea, but none of it is executed with any skill or legitimate humor. Hell, the bank robbery is just painful to watch as Schneider tries to distract the flabbergasted bank owner with a donkey and Sandler opens the safe with… Indian Magic? I don’t know what the hell is going on, but it does give the movie a chance to introduce the next brother played by Taylor Lautner as… a dumb person? Is this supposed to be something specific or could they not think of any other characteristics to give this kid?
Anyway, the heist goes off somewhat well. Tommy breaks into the safe and finds a message from his father which might refer to the location that he is leading the bandits to. Wait, what? Why wouldn’t the bankers replace the safe if it had been broken into!? Oh who gives a shit; Tommy gets away with Ramon and Taylor Lautner whose name is Lil’ Pete, but not before being seen by EVERY COP IN THE TOWN so they’re probably on some wanted list already. Great job guys. The trio now have a destination though on top of just robbing any “bad guy” they come across due to that message left at the back of the safe. Sure. Whatever. Oh, and there’s donkey fellatio because the movie had gone about three minutes without pissing me off and I was starting to worry they would show a modicum of constraint.
While these three are off on their lame adventure, we find out that the dumbasses from the beginning of the film (the Left Eye Boys and the shopkeeper) are in cahoots now to get back at Tommy for giving them super wedgies at the begining. Once again, this movie can claim to have another funny moment with the shop keeper’s initiation where he has to cut out his right eye (hence making him a Left Eye Boy) despite it being his only good eye. Of course, the humor can’t last because at some point they end up going to the Apache village to kidnap Smoking Fox and we get even more awful Native American humor such as someone named Beaver Breath. For Fuck’s sake… ANYWAY, to sum up quickly what take another fifteen minutes (but feels like an ETERNITY), the three brothers find three MORE brothers in the form of a mountain man Herm played by Jorge Garcia, Danny played by Luke Wilson who… just looks really sad to be here, and Chico played by Terry Crews so that we can now do even MORE racial humor. Yay…
Oh, and Steve Buscemi makes his cameo here. Wanna guess that the venerated actor does something really stupid?
So what the hell are they gonna do now that all six of them are together now? Well, the town they’re in at the moment JUST SO HAPPENS to have a saloon run by an old associate of dear old dad who got burned by him and he has a giant gold nugget worth a SHIT TON of money just sitting in the middle of his saloon. It gets even worse when I tell you this guy is played by Harvey Keitel and they do some ridiculous (yet completely unfunny) shtick with him. Still, he does manage to be part of by far the funniest scene in the entire movie where Ramon accidentally chops his head off and his body doesn’t seem to get the message.
The reason this scene works is that for the first time in the movie, it doesn’t feel like the characters are playing tropes or putting on obviously fake affectations. They’re reactions to the decapitation seem genuine which means we can buy into the absurdity of the situation. Watching Steve Buscemi half-heartedly stick his hand up a donkey’s ass or seeing Taylor Lautner pretend to be whatever the hell he’s trying to be is not funny because we don’t buy it for a second. The special effects to take Harvey Keitel’s head off aren’t all that great, but the cast actually tries to sell the scene. Which makes it work. In fact, the scene after that is really sweet as well where the six brothers are getting to know each other and even sing a song together. Maybe the movie is going to actually find its stride and be something genuine and funny! Oh no wait, they have to stop the movie dead by having them… play baseball? Oh and John Turturro turns up for his obligatory and pointless cameo.
Is this really happening? Are watching lame ass jokes about the creation of baseball? Is this for real!? Also, if we’re ripping of O’ Brother Where Art Thou by having characters run into historical figures along their journey (and also having John Turturro in the cast), you could have at least done your homework. While it’s true that a guy named Abner Doubleday (John Turturro’s character) is often cited as being the inventor of baseball, the dude was a New Yorker and a career military man; not some effete dude with a decidedly not New York accent in the west. As to WHY there’s an effete dude with a decidedly not New York accent in the west, I have no idea. The scene just goes on and on about how the rules in baseball are complicated (no more than any other sport) and just taking the piss out of this one dude for reasons I can’t even fathom. So why are they even wasting their time here in the first place? Well Abner knew their dad (shocker) and can answer some questions they have about his past but have to play him in this new-fangled game he’s invented. Once they do, he tells them that many years ago their father and his crew knocked over a military caravan and took their “Yankee Money” which is quite an odd expression to use considering that ABNER DOBULEDAY FOUGHT FOR THE UNION; NOT THE CONFEDERACY!! Anyway, this seemed to have happened not too far off and he buried it close by which means they have a better idea of where the bandits are taking their pa. Along the way though, they have to rob one more town to make the money that they need for the trade, and honestly it’s the best heist of the movie. They’ve got a decent joke for the distraction, and they don’t waste a lot of time with pointless asides. It’s get in, get out, and nail at least one absurdest gag along the way where Lil’ Pete gets himself hanged but apparently his neck is too thick for it to work and he just has fun with it.
So now that we’ve got the money problem sorted out, can we get this show on the road and make it to the climax, possibly ending on a high note? Of course not, because for some reason this is a two hour movie instead of an hour and a half one. The Left Eyed boys lose Smoking Fox (boy was THAT subplot valuable!) but manage to catch up to the Ridiculous Six… somehow… and steal all their money which means they’re back at square one. Well hell, at least it gives them a moment to reflect on their current situation and it even lets Luke Wilson explain his story which is that he was Abe Lincoln’s body guard the day he was shot. They had to throw a shit joke into the backstory, but even with that it at least gives him some pathos as he feels unbelievable guilt over what happened. Have I mentioned that this movie keeps ruining good moments by throwing in awful (and often scatological) humor? Fortunately, that doesn’t affect what happens next because the next heist was dead on arrival and there’s nothing for the terrible jokes to ruin. Apparently Herm, who I will remind you lived in a mountain shack his entire life and can’t even talk properly, knows about a big poker game that’s about to take place involving characters we’ve never seen or even heard of up until now and they’ll be able to steal all the money they need! HOW FUCKING CONVINENT!! Nothing about this scene makes sense and it honestly feels like a sketch they wrote and were very proud of, but couldn’t find room for in the script. Rather than cut the scene to preserve at least a decent pace for the movie, they just shoved it in somewhere and it’s completely useless. It’s not funny, the cameos are weak, and the events of this mini-adventure never come back to bite them in the ass despite the fact that they’re robbing rich and famous people instead of some Podunk country town. This scene managed to make JON LOVITZ unfunny! HOW DO YOU EVEN DO THAT!? Oh, and of course they have to find a role for Sandler’s new muse, Vanilla Ice as Mark Twain. No seriously.
We’re almost done here people. After stealing yet another fifty grand, they finally make it to the location where their pa supposedly buried his fortune (or at least led the bandits to under false pretenses), but don’t find anything there except a dick joke and the Left Eye gang buried up to their necks. Apparently Danny Trejo’s gang (remember them?) are the ones who did this and the Left Eye Boys start to beg the Ridiculous Six to get them out. They never explain what the hell the Left Eye gang was doing out here considering that they have no reason to chase after Danny Trejo or even knew that Tommy was gonna be here, and for some reason the blood thirsty gang looking for money (the whole reason they stole Tommy’s dad in the first place) did NOT steal the fifty grand that the Left Eye gang had with them. I guess they just forgot to search their bags or something. The Ridiculous Six dig them out on the condition that they give up their life of crime (hello pot, I’m kettle. You’re black!) and of course they take their ill-gotten gains back before digging out the jerks. Tommy is able to follow the bandits’ trail and so the six ride out after them. They can’t catch up to them just yet though (we’ve got at least twenty minutes left to kill) So Luke Wilson’s character has a picture of their pa with his gang and Adam Sandler finally takes a look at it. It turns out that Danny Trejo has a tattoo on his hand which is the same tattoo that the man who murdered his mother had. I’d say that’s yet another plot point that’s overly convenient, but I’ll let THAT one slide considering we are dealing with a western here and they wouldn’t have even bothered bringing up his mother’s death earlier if it wasn’t going to be relevant at some point. Because of this, he convinces the others to set up camp early and he sneaks out on his own in the middle of the night with fifty grand. Once he catches up with the bandits, he offers the fifty grand but kills Danny Trejo in the process.
Before the rest of the bandits can take out Tommy, his brothers show up out of nowhere (how did THEY catch up and how did Tommy not notice them behind him?) as well as the Left Eye gang who I guess are on our side now. With too many people pointing guns at each other, the bandits decide to abscond with the fifty grand and leave the Ridiculous Six’s father behind. And so the long journey is finally over! The other five kids finally have a chance to meet with their father (decades of pent up emotions eking out from their tough guy exteriors) and the scene is pretty genuinely heartfelt for this kind of comedy… until they get to the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome joke. They just couldn’t resist, could they? Whatever, at least this means the movie is over. NOPE!! PLOT TWIST!! Once dear old dad finds out about the OTHER fifty grand they have, he calls back the bandits and we find out that he was working for them the whole time!! On the plus side, this does give us an excuse to have a legitimate climatic ending with some decent emotional stakes and a big gunfight. On the downside, the old man’s plan makes no sense at all. He had NO IDEA that there were other kids out there, so was he expecting Adam Sandler to rob a whole bunch of places on his own without ANY prior training as a thief? On top of that, it doesn’t seem like it was all that necessary to play his hand at this moment. Just go with them, wait until everyone’s asleep, and THEN grab the money and run! Finally, we find out that Smoking Fox (oh yeah! She’s in this movie!) was kidnapped by pops and the gang after she escaped from the Left Eye Gang… so was the plan to never give her back or to eventually return her and then have her reveal the dad’s evil intent? I don’t know, but hey! BIG SHOOTOUT!! YEE HAW!!!!
Everyone gets to kick some ass, Tommy corners his dad but doesn’t kill him, and everyone gets to go back to the Apache tribe with the money just in time for the wedding!! Amid a series of piss jokes and horrifying plot twists (dumb ass Lil’ Pete manages to get a girlfriend), the ceremony goes off without a hitch and the movie ends with everyone happy and celebrating with their newfound family!
I didn’t LIKE this movie, but I actually didn’t end up HATING it either. A lot of comedies fall into the trap of frontloading all it’s good material early on and settling into mediocrity for the second half with (hopefully) a strong ending to finish things out. This is KIND of like that, only instead of frontloading the movie with the best material; it does it with the worst. The humor at the beginning , especially with the Native Americans, is just painful and made me want to quit watching this less than twenty minutes in. Yet somehow, it manages to find its stride of sorts. It never becomes GOOD, but it does rise to mediocrity and even has a pretty decent climax. Of course, we just HAD to go back to the Native American jokes at the very end (and that final heist right before the finale was terrible), but overall it manages to be… okay(ish). It’s definitely the most watchable of the Happy Madison films since You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, but that’s still not saying all that much. Even though there were some spots that garnered a chuckle out of me, this is still very much a lazy effort by America’s favorite hack. It tries just a bit harder than his other recent films, but he still has a long way to go before he can crawl out of the cinematic cesspool that he’s dug himself into. Is this a start? I guess. At least it’s not a step backwards as his movies up until now have been getting progressively worse and worse so maybe there’s hope for him yet. I’m not holding my breath, but the guy has three more movies to release on Netflix and may just find his creative voice again in the process. Hell, maybe he’ll go back to his roots and make the next project a sequel to Going Overboard!! Probably not, but I’m at least INTERESTED to see what he does next rather than outright dreading it.