April 30, 2015
That right there is the math of what I hate about Adam Sandler: the red and green clusters.
The yellow cluster, I'm all good with: Spanglish, Punch Drunk Love, Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer. (Admittedly, I haven't seen Funny People or Reign Over Me.)
As the Walt Hickey write on FiveThirtyEight, "Sandler was young and hungry, and his schtick was still relatively fresh — or at least it wasn’t 20 years old. When you watch the films, you can sense it: Sandler is trying. They are not necessarily great films, but they’re solid comedies."
Then came the green and red clusters, about which, "predictable product that will perform consistently and make money for its producer" (the green) and "most Sandler movies are bad...[s]ome have suggested that Sandler movies are going downhill, but his movies were never on a hill to begin with." (the red)
It's not that his bad and financially unsuccessful movies (the red) are particularly worse than the bad and financially successful ones (the green), it's just that some time around 1998, he stopped trying to make his comedies any good.
Punch Drunk Love and Spanglish are easily the finest of his films.
Hickey also did the same sort of analysis of Will Ferrell movies.