I don’t exactly hate Adam Sandler, though I’ve seen few of his movies and the most recent ones, under duress. I sorta like the “Phone, Wallet, Keys” rap. Basically, I look at his comedy as not-for-me, but he actually seems like a decent guy whose trying (at least occasionally) to do different or interesting things. And so I ignored the warnings about Uncut Gems. And…it was okay. The Boy rather liked it, in fact.
This is the “dumb criminal” genre, which isn’t my favorite. It’s the sort of thing Scorcese loves and a big part of the reason I don’t think much of his “best” films. It also meant that I knew how this movie was going to end right from the start. (The Boy didn’t, which contributed to his enjoyment.)
The story is that Howard (Sandler) is a Jewish jeweler who deals in especially gaudy merchandise and he has come into possession (through some machinations) of a lump of black opals. Howard’s life is utter chaos. He’s being chased by multiple loan sharks, placing bets on long shots while avoiding people trying to break his legs, cheating on his wife (Idina Menzel) with his assistant Julia (newcomer Julia Fox), and ultimately endangering the lives of his children with his reckless behavior.
Not my favorite kind of story, though I will allow the Safdie brothers (writers/directors) do pull you into the story. The MacGuffin of the story, the rock full of opals, becomes an issue almost immediately as Howard lends it to a basketball player who becomes so enamored of it, it becomes a totem: The magic key to his success. But I guess he’s not one of the better basketball players ’cause he can only cough up about $175K for it while Howie is sure it’s going to auction for over a million.
I mean, I guess I’m sorta rooting for Howie. He’s not as bad as a great many of the people he associates with, for sure. But it was hard to get too excited, though there are some good moments of suspense here.
Meanwhile, the style is visually and aurally chaotic. The visual aspect wasn’t that bad, but the soundtrack was grating and noisy. I think another reason The Boy liked it more than I was that this didn’t bother him very much but I just found it jarring and more than occasionally inappropriate.
But I didn’t hate it. And Sandler was fine, so…take your shot, I guess.