As the remarkable Adam Sandler resurgence continues unabated with the positive reviews of his latest two Netflix films, You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah and Leo, the Sandman is itching to get back on stage and convert any remaining anti-Sandler stalwarts. To that end, The Insneider Newsletter, Josh Safdie will direct the upcoming Sandler comedy special for Netflix. We suppose that is how we win.
The sudden increase of positive reviews for Sandler’s work seemingly disproves the irony-laden title of his last stand-up special, 100% Fresh. The special also bridges the Sandler of Just Go With It and the Hubie Halloween, a film some claim is “pretty good, actually,” bringing lapsed Sand-fans back into the fold. At least as far as his Rotten Tomato scores go, he’s seeing a lot more red circles than green splats these days. And even outright comedies that still displease critics have better reputations than the absolute dregs of Sandler’s 2010s.
100% Fresh (which, despite being hilarious and heartfelt, somehow only locked a 90% on the aggressively scientific and culturally flattening Tomatometer—we’ll blame the Rob Schneider cameo) certainly helped change the perception many had of Sandler as a comedian. Namely, he’s still got it. The other thing that helped convince the broader culture to stop taking Adam Sandler for granted was Uncut Gems, Josh and Benny Safdie’s sports-betting nail-biter. Surprisingly, Benny told The A.V. Club in 2019 that it was 100% Fresh that prepared Sandler for Howard Ratner.
We had a script that was over 160 pages. Howard’s a motormouth! He’s a loudmouth. He has a lot of dialogue. A lot of extended monologues that are constantly interrupted. That is difficult for an actor. Because from a technical standpoint, you have to memorize a lot of monologues with crazy tonal shifts. But he wasn’t fazed by that part at all. The movie benefited from 100% Fresh, that 50-city tour he did. He was used to going on stage with three and a half hours of material and shaping and modifying it in the moment, if the crowd’s not into it. The things that were more challenging for him, I think, were the hot and cold elements. And the fact that it was through the lens of realism.
J. Safdie and Sandler are still on the hook for a sports memorabilia thriller that sounds a lot like Uncut Gems. However, Benny bowed out of the Uncut reunion to make the UFC drama, The Smashing Machine, with The Rock.
Sandler’s next film, Spaceman, which could really use a tagline like “Sandman is Spaceman, streams on Netflix on March 1.