As college students, we’ve all been there. Life come at you fast, and, at the moment you think you can handle no more, your workload grows beyond your wildest dreams, making the next couple of weeks of your life an absolute hell.

Phil Dokas
“And if I hit this button, I hypnotize people into seeing my movie.” (Courtesy of Columbia)

But wouldn’t it be great if you could just fast forward through that hectic period and cut to the good part? A remote control to control our lives: We’ve all fantasized about it at one time or another.

And now, one man finally has that control. Unfortunately, that man is Adam Sandler, and he can do naught but abuse his power in “Click,” teaching us all, if inanely, to be careful what we wish for.

Sandler, now in his semi-legitimate, post-“Punch Drunk Love” days, plays Michael Newman, a talented architect with a nice house, cute kids and an angelic wife (Kate Beckinsale, “Underworld”). But of course, all this success comes at a cost, and Michael’s is his job, which leaves him little time or energy to enjoy his life. One night, unable to select the right remote to turn on the television, from a handful, Michael storms out of his house, vying to return with a universal remote to simplify his life. At the “Way Beyond” section of his local Bed Bath and Beyond, however, he gets far more than he bargained for – a remote that actually controls his life.

Such is the premise, and does it ever have potential. Is that potential realized? Not really. Michael plays around with the features of the remote – hitting pause to fart in the face of his demanding boss, in classic Sandler form – but fails to do the first thing I think we’d all do: Relive the greatest moments of our lives. Instead of exploring as a normal person would, the film has Michael fast-forwarding through undesirable segments of his life, first minutes and hours, then weeks, months and years. This impatience on Michael’s part is important to the central theme of the movie, but is so annoyingly interjected that it robs from that very theme.

The movie tells us, first humorously, then tragically, that life is beautiful even in its low moments. Missing out on even one minute, it tells us, is one minute too much. But by making parts of Michael’s life so inanely complex, the film leaves viewers with a sense of unbelieving in that very message; Michael’s life is so complicated and his personality so unlikable, we’re left thinking that maybe some lives really are better not lived.

That said, the film is unique in the way that it plays out, almost unique enough to be worth seeing. The first act is a typical Sandler shtick, complete with the random tantrums and the aforementioned fart jokes. But, the film turns, indeed reels, quickly into a drama so intense and eventually tragic that viewers are left overwhelmed, more with confusion than anything else

In trailers, the film was advertised as the usual Sandler giggler with a slight touch of morality, but in its middle third, it becomes a tenacious drama that overwhelms itself before returning to the advertised light-hearted fare.

The film wants to teach us (with that idiotic remote control) that we should be thankful for what we have because it may be gone before we know it. But couldn’t you just hit rewind? For some reason, this possibility never occurs to Michael, just one of many holes in a film with good intention but hopelessly feeble execution.

Rating: Two out of five stars

At the Showcase and Quality 16

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