Of his generation of “SNL” stars, Rob Schneider’s post-show career has certainly been helped by being friends with the others. (In particular, Adam Sander, who has produced most of Schenider’s movies.) But there’s also a complete lack of shame – a willingness to try any concept, no matter how dumb(*), and to make himself look as ridiculous as possible in doing it – that’s helped him get jobs that actors with more self-consciousness might have passed on.
(*) Schneider was victim of one of the more devastating “South Park” career assessments ever, in an episode where the boys kept seeing trailers for terrible-looking Schneider movies where he turned into a stapler, a carrot and, eventually, Kenny. One of the last trailers abandoned any pretense of intelligence and had a gibberish narration, including the title “Da Derp Dee Derp Da Teetley Derpee Derpee Dumb.”
And while Schneider has to participate in a few mortifying moments on his new CBS sitcom “Rob” (tonight at 8:30 p.m.) – notably a scene where he’s involved in consecutive misunderstandings involving shrine desecration, masturbation and rape – for the most part it’s a less ridiculous vehicle for him than most.
It’s not good, mind you. If anything, it suggests Schneider is probably better off playing an animal, a teenage girl, or a stapler.
Schneider plays Rob, newly-married to the much younger and more attractive Maggie (Claudia Bassols) after a whirlwind courtship. Where Rob barely sees his own family at all, Maggie is part of a large, close-knit Mexican-American clan, headed by her father Fernando (Cheech Marin) and mother Rosa (Diana Maria Riva), who are none too pleased to meet the clown who married their daughter without telling them first.
Essentially, it’s every sitcom you’ve ever seen about an annoying, schlubby guy inexplicably married to an understanding hot chick(**), mixed with a bunch of clumsy, borderline-offensive jokes about Rob’s misunderstanding of his in-laws’ culture.
(**) Not to be confused with “The Hot Chick,” where Schneider swapped bodies with a then-unknown Rachel McAdams. In hindsight, they’d probably center that movie more around her.
When Rob meets a few dozen members of Maggie’s family at the same time, he awkwardly breaks the ice by joking, “Now I know what’s going on during all those siestas, huh?” When that bombs, he more sincerely suggests, “This is a big family because you’re all Catholic, right?” And by the time Maggie has pulled him away for his own good, he’s complaining that the number of people makes him “feel like I’m at a Julio Iglesias concert.”