From the same streaming service that brought audiences acclaimed shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black comes The Ridiculous Six. This "comedic" western is definitive proof that Netflix is just as capable at producing terrible products as other Hollywood studios.
What could possibly be said about Adam Sandler's recent live-action efforts that hasn't already been said? The product placement is over-the-top, the cameos are unbelievably forced, the toilet humor is juvenile, and there seems to be practically no effort put into their screenplays. All of these (except the product placement) can be applied to The Ridiculous Six, but somehow it's even worse than all of Sander's "efforts" combined. It may even be worse than Jack and Jill and Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star.
This "movie" stars Adam Sandler as a hero named White Knife, a white man who was raised by Native Americans after his mother was killed. After his father is kidnapped, White Knife must go on a bank-robbing quest with his five half-bothers to rescue him.
What better way to start my numerous gripes with this film than with Sandler's character? White Knife is a Gary-Stu type character with super powers and a tragic backstory. He has absolutely no flaws and is thus an incredibly boring protagonist. It doesn't help that Sandler's performance seems like it was fueled by NyQuil. Say what you want about his annoying characters (such as his character in That's My Boy), but at least you had the sense that he was trying. Here, he plays White Knife as dull as possible, leaving for absolutely no laughs.
The rest of the cast (for the most part) at least try to give lively performances, but they are all let down by a "screenplay" that isn't funny for even a fraction of a second. Almost all of the characters are bland, goofy stereotypes that are so detached from reality, that they aren't the least bit relatable. Rob Schneider plays a Mexican stereotype who's only character trait is being a stereotype with an incontinent donkey. Taylor Lautner plays a dimwitted hillbilly whose only character trait is being stupid. Steve Zahn plays a character whose only trait is having a crazy eye. The list just goes on and on.
What's even more egregious is the fact that the many Native American actors (and even some white actors with dark makeup on) in this film are stuck playing bland stereotypes whose only character traits are speaking broken English. Sure, the initial reports of dozens of Native American actors walking off the set were a bit exaggerated (only about four actors actually walked out). However, the ones who did had every right to; in a time when Hollywood is trying to build more diverse stars, this film does absolutely no favors to these actors who could be showing off their talents in something better.
Dumb comedy can work if it's done right. Dumb and Dumber worked because the characters had their own distinct personalities and goals. They were relatable, connecting to our inner dumb sides with lively personalities and well-timed jokes. The Ridiculous Six, however, is so lazy in it's execution, that its just boring to sit through.
As a matter of fact, the biggest problem I had with this film is that it's just boring. When the jokes aren't horrendously juvenile grossout gags like donkey diarrhea or someone trying to gouge their own eye out, they just fall flat. In one scene, White Knife throws a knife into a water jug. Nick Nolte's character knocks the knife out, and White Knife throws the knife into the same hole to plug it up. So what's the joke? Is it that White Knife is skilled with a knife? Because that isn't a joke.
Some jokes are even repeated more than once in an attempt to fill up a 2-hour runtime. One throwaway gag involves a Native American toddler holding a Tomahawk. About ten minutes later, what seems to be the same clip is shown again. If they already did this visual gag once, why do it again? Were they that desperate to eat time?
Other jokes are blatantly explained, which is a common theme I've noticed with Sandler's recent movies. In one badly-timed scene, a villainous character's head is knocked off while his body is still firing his gun. The character shoots his gun at his still smiling disembodied head, to which Terry Crews' character says: "He's giving himself six bullets to the head." Taylor Lautner's character then says: "And he's still smiling." The Joker said it best: if you have to explain the joke, there is no joke.
Humor is subjective, but this kind of humor so obviously lacks effort, that it's hard to believe that anybody who isn't drunk would find it funny. You could tell that Adam Sandler cranked out this screenplay to fill up his four-movie deal with Netflix.
The rest of the script is just as lazy as the jokes are. Many scenes like one involving a baseball game just go on and on while providing almost nothing to the plot. Other scenes involve characters just spilling out exposition from their mouths in an attempt to develop their bland characters. The beginning of the movie features Adam Sandler and Nick Nolte's characters explaining their relationship and their past. Since their characters are so bland, there's no reason to even care. Adam Sandler has written some abysmal screenplays in the past, but this one really outdoes itself.
After giving audiences such excellent original films as A Very Murray Christmas and Beasts of no Nation, The Ridiculous Six is an absolute embarrassment to Netflix. Not only that, but it may even be the worst Happy Madison movie ever made. Jack and Jill at least had a surreal, committed performance from Al Pacino. It was completely undermined by the awful script, but it was something interesting to look at. Bucky Larson's humor was as forced and unfunny as it gets, but at least Nick Swardson gave some effort as the lead actor.
The only positive thing about Ridiculous Six is the high production value. The film has a crisp look to it, with some great settings and art design. However, the same can be said for most Hollywood productions with big budgets. Micro-budget movies like Birdemic and Manos: the Hands of Fate may be technically worse than The Ridiculous Six, but at least I could laugh at those in retrospective. The Ridiculous Six is a boring, laugh-free tragedy that may be not only the worst Happy Madison movie I've ever seen, but the worst movie I've ever seen...period.
Hopefully The Hateful Eight will wash the bad taste of this out of my mouth with a quality ensemble western.