28%, 5%, 55%, 17%, 5%, 9%, 0%, 32%, 14%, 7%. These are the scores of Adam Sandler’s previous 10 starring rolls on Rotten Tomatoes. With no exaggeration—simply because none is necessary—this is the worst run of films by a working actor in Hollywood history. Full stop.
Yet as rumors of a four-minute standing ovation at Cannes began to swirl on Thursday morning—followed closely by Oscar whispers and an actual, not-paid-for 93% on Rotten Tomatoes—the world was faced with a gravity-defying reality: Adam Sandler—the auteur behind cinematic dysentery like Grown Ups 2, Jack and Jill, and Bucky Larson: Born to be Star—might have actually made something…you know…good.
Now it should be said, Sandler didn’t write or direct The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)—those honors go to Noah Baumbach. Nor is serious work new to Sandler, who has received plaudits for his work in films like Punch-Drunk Love and Little Nicky (just kidding) over the years.
Nonetheless, his performance as one of a set of siblings struggling to cope with their aging-but-domineering father is being hailed by the French film elite as, quite simply, terrific. And from a Cannes crowd still pronouncing Happy Gilmore as Happy Gilmoré while sipping Krug and laughing at sub-100-foot yachts like they’re silly kittens, that’s high praise indeed.
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) will be available in theaters and on Netflix this fall.