Adam Sandler Earning Raves (Raves!) for His Cannes Movie 'The Meyerowitz Stories'

Nick Schager
Writer
Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Elizabeth Marvel in ‘The Meyerowitz Stories’ (Photo: Netflix)

Adam Sandler is the veritable king of Netflix, thanks to the success of his original comedies for the streaming giant, which just re-upped their deal with the star for another four features. On the heels of his most recent venture for the service, the poorly reviewed Sandy Wexler, Sandler will next appear on Netflix in a far more dramatic role, as a brother struggling to deal with the legacy of his art-world father, in Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories, which co-stars Dustin Hoffman and Ben Stiller, and which just premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. According to critics, it’s his finest performance since Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2002 Punch-Drunk Love — and one that, some think, might actually get into the Oscar conversation at some point. Read on for the excellent first notices.

Peter Debruge, Variety
“A chatty New York comedy featuring the best role in 15 years for Adam Sandler…. With no shtick to fall back on, Sandler is forced to act, and it’s a glorious thing to watch — even for those fans who like him best in perpetual man-child mode (don’t worry: the character is a full-grown variation on that familiar Sandler prototype).

Perhaps that’s why Netflix, which is in the Adam Sandler business, scooped up this relatively high-brow Scott Rudin production just weeks before its Cannes film festival premiere. Still, it’s odd to think that the company responsible for Sandy Wexler and The Ridiculous Six could conceivably earn Sandler his first Oscar nomination — and his best role since Punch-Drunk Love played Cannes in 2002.”

Robbie Collin, The Telegraph
“Adam Sandler has been bad in so many awful films that when he’s terrific in a great one, it’s both a revelation and a windfall — like you’re digging around at the back of the garden shed for the first time in years and find a Picasso propped up against the wallpaper steamer…. Sandler, in particular, is asked to go places he hasn’t been as an actor since Punch-Drunk Love (2002) — and he gets there so seemingly effortlessly, and with such comedic precision and control of sentiment (the way he plays Danny’s relationship with his daughter is delightful), you wonder what it would take for him to do it more often. Baumbach should really write him a Volume Two.”

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
“Hoffman indisputably rules the roost as the irascible genius in his own mind, giving snap and innuendo to his readings that further up the ante provided by his egotistical pronouncements and cutting comments. Right behind, surprisingly enough, is Sandler, who has spent most of his career hiding the fact that he can hold his own and more with the likes of his co-stars here; it’s a legitimately fine and felt presentation of a modern sad sack.”

Stephanie Zacharek, Time
“As comedians age, it’s harder for them to skate by on just acting cute, as Sandler has often done. But he can do more, and The Meyerowitz Stories proves it…. Sandler is terrific here, even if you’re not sure you can stomach another man-child shuffling around in rumpled shorts. (We’ve got enough of those in real life.)… Sandler’s Danny is transparent, almost in defiance of Baumbach’s acute need to be articulate every minute. Sometimes Danny just doesn’t know what to say, and so he says nothing. That’s when you feel the most for him.”

Tim Grierson, Screen Daily
As for Sandler, The Meyerowitz Stories may represent his most nuanced screen work. Known mostly for juvenile comedies, Sandler occasionally tries his hand at something more challenging, like the violent, emotionally fragile lover of Punch-Drunk Love. As Danny, though, there’s a winning naturalness to Sandler’s portrayal of a defeated man who has had very little go right in his life — that is, except for raising his adoring, happy college-age daughter (Grace Van Patten), who alone sees the good person that he is.

Geoffrey McNab, The Independent
“It boasts one of Dustin Hoffman’s best performances in recent years — and a very poignant one too, a long way from Happy Gilmour-like goofiness, from Adam Sandler…. Sandler captures very convincingly his character’s sense of extreme frustration at the way his life has panned out. Danny can’t even find a parking spot in New York let alone a job. He has a bad hip which gives him a pronounced limp. He is heroic in his own way, though, and deals as best he can with his father’s very obvious disappointment in him.”

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