Thomas McCarthy's The Cobbler is a rather shallow and lacking dramatic mess of a film. Adam Sandler's performance is confusingly sad, yet lacking any sort of emotional depth.
Thomas McCarthy‘s The Cobbler is the latest Adam Sandler film that isn’t a Grown Ups sequel. Sandler attempts to hone in on a more emotional role in The Cobbler, but quickly falls back as the film’s strange story struggles finding its footing as a comedy or a drama.
Max (Adam Sandler) is a shoe repairman in New York City. He owns a shop that his father started and aside from that he lives with his mother. His life can be described as a sad and lonely one, especially after finding out that his father left him and he really doesn’t have anyone besides his mother.
That all sort of changes when he discovers this magical power that allows him to live someone’s life, simply by putting their shoes on. His body transforms and he looks, talks and presents himself as them, until he takes the shoes off.
He takes advantage of this new-found power initially by pulling off pranks on people and simply acting like an idiot, but then he tries it for monetary gain and quickly gets himself involved with the wrong people.
The Cobbler is a strange film, because it’s not your traditional Adam Sandler film by way of performance. Sure, the story is kind of dumb and out there and exactly like the type of thing that would draw Sandler closer, but the actual character that he is playing is a bit more dark and sad.
There’s not a lot of good things in life for Max and Sandler does his best to keep things on the edge of hopelessness and depression. He does that well, but instantly gets short-changed once director Thomas McCarthy starts to take the film in a direction that is more in line with what Sandler is use to starring in.
Then, The Cobbler becomes a mess of a film that struggles to be funny or dramatic and settles for something empty and heartless.
Sandler’s efforts must be noted, but he never elevates the material past his normal shtick that he’s been getting by on for years, only this time he’s not nearly as funny or even trying to be.
And that’s the film’s biggest problem. You either go full-on Sandler stupid or none at all. You can’t settle for none or a variation of both in the middle.
I’m not exactly sure why director/writer Thomas McCarthy didn’t bother investing more time and effort into either Sandler’s performance or the film’s general story, because both feel underutilized and undercooked. Sandler’s performance starts fine, but never really develops into anything notable, while the film starts off with an interesting premise, but nosedives into the absurdly idiotic.
The Cobbler has no shortage of shoes, yet it struggles to find its footing rather early on and never becomes of anything other than an untypical Adam Sandler flick that’s unbalanced and neither funny or dramatic. It’s moronic and simple and suddenly it makes perfect sense as to why this film skipped a theatrical release in exchange for a VOD platform release.