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The most disturbing, weirdly confessional item in the Adam Sandler canon since the demented Hanukkah cartoon Eight Crazy Nights, and the strongest dose yet of the anger, self-loathing and infantilism that lie at the heart of Sandler’s screen persona. The high-concept premise of Click (courtesy of writers Steve Koren and Mark O’Keefe, in a minor retooling of their Bruce Almighty script) positions the funnyman as a workaholic architect who wishes he could skip over everyday time wasters (like traffic jams, marital spats and playtime with the kids) to bask in the rewards of hard work well done. He gets his chance in the form of a literally “universal” remote control supplied by a kooked-out inventor (Christopher Walken) — a kind of TiVo-on-steroids that allows Sandler’s Michael Newman to pause, rewind and fast-forward his own reality. If that makes Click sound like yet another neo-Dickensian fable about a selfish bastard who comes to learn the true value of home and hearth via divine intervention, think again. After an hour of predictably sophomoric antics involving foulmouthed kids, compulsively self-pleasuring canines and the rampant objectification of women, Click turns into a surrealist death dream in which Sandler’s masochistic impulses flower onscreen as never before. As Newman rockets uncontrollably through his own future, he enjoys none of life’s pleasures and suffers all of its ravages: sickness, aging, the death of loved ones — you name it. And the message is that Newman by and large gets what he deserves. He’s the flip side of the harried family man Sandler deftly portrayed in 2004’s Spanglish — less a loving husband and father torn between family and career than a violent and possibly pathological depressive trying to pin down the moment when his life became not his own. The film’s vulgarity — comic, emotional and otherwise — never lets up, and director Frank Coraci (The Wedding Singer) manages to frame it with some of the more garish imagery (particularly in the futuristic scenes) ever to defile a motion-picture screen. But Sandler holds the whole god-awful mess on his shoulders as ably as anyone could, striving to say something meaningful about the arrested development and unarticulated rage of the American male. Surely, nobody else could package the tragedy of a ridiculous man as a featherweight farce and have it turn into what I suspect will be a major hit. Sandler is young yet, but he could end up one of the genius men in American comedy. (Citywide)

—Scott Foundas