If we had to use just one word to describe your career there are many powerful adjectives that leap to mind. But once we’ve had time to reflect, and our legal department has been consulted, we reckon “audacious” sums it up pretty well. You could say we’re writing to take our hats off to you.
Take your new film, Jack and Jill, out now, where you not only play lead character Jack Sadelstein but also his quirky yet lovable twin sister Jill (they’re chalk and cheese but Jack sure learns some valuable lessons about family).
First up, it’s definitely audacious to think that after all these years you’ve started to feel the thing your films need more of is you.
Audacious, too, that you believe you can add something to the chequered field of comedy cross-dressing. A headscarf and squeaky voice are normally strong hints an artist might be running low on original ideas. Funnily enough in your case, it still counts as one of your best.
Of course, the critics misconstrued your audacity for something else: “Twenty-four hours have passed… and I still feel dead inside,” read one. “One of Sandler’s weakest outings to date. Which is saying something,” stated another. But you don’t strike us as the reflective or sensitive type.
And let’s be honest, when it comes to criticising a film in which the best moments involve Al Pacino in a kimono and a collapsible pantomime horse, the old phrase involving “shooting”, “fish” and “barrel” comes to mind.
What’s most audacious, though, is that your films generate huge quantities of cash. No matter how desperate the premise, how lame the gags or how much that smirk makes us consider the benefits of self-harm, somehow those fans just keep on coming back. You’re in Forbes magazine’s Top 10 of Hollywood’s most bankable stars. Yes, even Jack and Jill pulled in $26m in its opening weekend in the States. The joke’s on us, you say? Well, at least we’ve found it somewhere.
A word of caution. You might be aware of the Robin Williams Phenomenon (if not, see our letter to Jim Carrey, Esquire, September 2011). In 1993, the man with the hairiest forearms in showbusiness reached for the wig and lipstick to play a character called Euphegenia Doubtfire. It kickstarted a legendary run of films so bad it began to look like a bet, or some kind of elaborate insurance scam.
Perhaps you’re secretly trying to overhaul this record run to mark your permanent place in movie folklore. Now that really would be audacious. At just 46 and with the masses behind you, you might just do it, too.
Words by Will Hersey
Illustration by Bob London