I’m sure by now that you’ve seen the non-stop barrage of commercials for Bucky Larson, and I assume that because they have been scorched into my brain because of their needlessly obnoxious delivery. The movie itself looks like standard Happy Madison fare, but for some reason the commercials have Peter Dante – more on him later – yelling at us about why we should see the film like we are complete morons. I honestly can’t decide whether I’m more annoyed or fascinated by the commercials.
What is the point of Dante yelling terrible jokes at us? Is he portraying his character in the film? Are we supposed to know this? Better yet, are we supposed to know who he is? I decided to answer that last question myself, as well as the question “Who the hell are these guys and why should we accept them as comedy stars?”
*Side Note: Not all movies associated to each actor are Happy Madison productions. They’re mostly just top-of-my-head examples.
Role: The Leading Man
Films: Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Grown Ups, etc.
So Who the Hell is He: We all know Sandler pretty well so we don’t exactly need a crash course on his background. Like many people my age (somewhere between 21 and 65) I have fond memories of Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, so much so that I won’t watch them anymore because I’m afraid to lose my joy for them. I’ve seen most of Sandler’s movies, as I watched Grown Ups last year specifically to see if it was worthy of my Worst Movies of 2010 list. It earned the No. 1 spot.
As he has proven in films like Punch Drunk Love and Funny People (not a great movie but he was still good), Sandler has the ability to be awesome. Yet for some reason he retreats to painfully unfunny films like Zohan, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and the upcoming Jack and Jill. In fact, Jack and Jill has me believing that he’s outright mocking us now.
But my greatest criticism of Sandler is that which I respect most in a person – his loyalty. His films may be terrible. I may abhor them with every ounce of my body. But they make money and they put food on his friends’ tables. I just wish his friends cared enough about him to tell him that it’s OK to put some effort into his work.
UPDATE 1: Call it a complete brain fart to not mention this, but to be fair and not make this a complete negative, critical attack, I loved The Wedding Singer. I wish Happy Madison would use that film as a template, as opposed to rehashing old characters that never worked for Sandler in the first place (Cajun Boy was fine on SNL but not in The Waterboy, for instance).
Role: The Utility Man
Films: Deuce Bigalow, The Hot Chick, The Animal, The Benchwarmers
So Who the Hell is He: It seems like Schneider’s role within the organization has toned down over the past few years, after a run of leading roles that ranked somewhere between horse and dog on the fecal-ometer. Most of his recent starring efforts haven’t even reached the big screen, with films like American Virgin and The Chosen One – which I have actually seen and it was neither funny (if it was even meant to be a comedy) nor was it good – going straight to DVD. Schneider’s greatest strength for Happy Madison is that he plays quirky lesser roles in every film.
Since 2007’s Big Stan (you never saw it), Schneider has been trying his hand at directing as well. He also directed The Chosen One, which I reiterate – was awful. He had his moment in the sun as Richard Laymer (“Making copies…”) on “Saturday Night Live,” but all of his success – like being able to make out with inexplicably hotter female co-stars – boils down to Sandler.