Comedian Adam Sandler emerged as the unexpected toast of the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday after winning rave reviews for his new drama The Meyerowitz Stories.
The Noah Baumbach film reunites Sandler with his Happy Gilmore co-star Ben Stiller onscreen as two half-brothers in a dysfunctional New York family, led by patriarch Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson as his third wife.
The movie is screening in competition for the prestigious Palme d’Or prize at the annual event in France, and during a premiere press conference on Sunday, Sandler, whose career has taken a downturn in recent years, admitted he jumped at the opportunity to tackle a more dramatic role after becoming “misty-eyed” laughing at the script.
“It’s different for a comedian when you get an offer like this,” he explained. “My first thought is, ‘I don’t want to let anybody down and work as hard as I can to know the material and be as good as I can be.'”
And Sandler’s dedication to the project has clearly paid off, after drawing some of the best reviews of his career for his portrayal of an unappreciated son and recently-divorced dad in The Meyerowitz Stories.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy applauds Baumbach for his “stingingly amusing” tale of a messed-up family, perfectly brought to life onscreen by “sterling turns from a wonderful cast”, highlighted by Hoffman and, “no kidding, Adam Sandler”, who he notes delivers “a legitimately fine and felt presentation of a modern sad sack”.
Meanwhile, Variety’s Peter Debruge claims it’s Sandler’s “best role in 15 years”, insisting the movie is “a long way from the kind of slapstick comedies” fans are used to receiving from the funnyman, and Collider’s Gregory Ellwood agrees, declaring Adam and Ben both “excel” in the family drama.
Deadline’s Pete Hammond is equally as excited about the film, suggesting Sandler is a genuine contender for the Cannes Best Actor prize, describing him as “a standout among other standouts in this terrific ensemble”.
The Meyerowitz Stories is Sander’s first Cannes entry since 2002’s Punch Drunk Love with director Paul Thomas Anderson, and is set for release on streaming service Netflix later this year.
– Cover Media0