For "Aloha," "Entourage," "Mortdecai," and others, the arrival of Adam Sandler's "The Ridiculous 6" on Netflix Friday must seem like a Christmas miracle. Those films are off the hook. "The Ridiculous 6" is the worst movie of the year.
In the Netflix original movie -- the first of a four movie deal between Netflix and Sandler, as the streaming giant tries to circumvent the theaters -- Sandler plays White Knife -- later we find out his real name is Tommy -- an orphan raised by a Native American tribe to have a big disdain for the "white man's world." When his father, famed bank robber Frank Stockburn (Nick Nolte) shows up, Tommy realizes the void he has had in his life all these years. Unfortunately, Frank's old gang, unwilling to let him go easy into retirement, kidnaps Frank and it is up to Tommy to rescue him and get back to his tribe to marry Smoking Fox (Julia Jones). Along the way, he meets and recruits his five half-wit half-brothers -- Lil' Pete (Taylor Lautner), Chico (Terry Crews), Herm (Jorge Garcia), Danny (Luke Wilson), and Ramon (Rob Schneider) -- dubbing themselves the Ridiculous 6.
Everything that has been written about the movie's clumsy treatment of Native Americans is pretty much true. That several Native American actors and a cultural adviser walked off the set of the movie in protest is well documented and it is not easy to see why they were offended. The reliance on stereotypes and the blunt novelty of Sandler playing a borderline mystical Native American warrior wear thin quickly and feel awfully dated for 2015.
However, while that is certainly a problem, it is not the only problem. The film's cultural insensitivity might be a more meaningful conversation if the movie was funny otherwise. It is not. Childish toilet humor and slapstick gags have been staples of Sandler's films since the 1990s, but it came in a much fresher package then. In this by-the-numbers, Western knock off script it feels stale. Sandler's unnecessarily stoic and borderline humorless performance does not help. Why so serious, Sandler? It seems the point is to communicate what a spiritual, true Native American warrior he is, but nothing else in the movie warrants the heavy attitude.
At its best, the movie is a vehicle for an admittedly impressive list of cameos and guest stars, some of which do deliver -- John Torturro as the eccentric inventor of baseball, Keitel Doubleday, and Harvey Keitel as the villainous Smiley are a lot of fun. However, they are rare bright spots in a two-hour farce that struggles to even be entertaining.
It is hard to see what Netflix is going for here. Sure, a direct-to-streaming release with this sort of star power is significant, but if this is the caliber of movie the site is putting out, maybe the big theater chains can breathe a little easier. "Beasts of No Nation," released by Netflix in October, picked up a couple Screen Actors Guild Awards and Golden Globe nominations this week. This movie seems destined for the Razzies. "The Ridiculous 6" is just ridiculous.
Watch the trailer for "The Ridiculous 6" below: