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Click – toy duck-humping season…..ho…ho…ho

Laughter? Remote

Laughter? Remote

Click – Frank Coraci

(BBC Prize Review – contains ‘spoilers’ if that’ possible for this one)

What’s funnier than a dog humping a soft toy duck? (While two 7/8 year-olds share the ‘fun’). Easy, according to director Coraci – two dogs humping the same duck. If that cracks you up, you just gotta go for Adam Sandler crouched on his boss’s (David Hasselhoff playing David Hasselhoff) desk, his backside in Hasselhoff’s face, then farting at length. Twice. Snorkelling in a cesspit would be more fun than this movie. What oh what is Kate Beckinsale doing in such unrelieved, unfunny, embarrassing junk? Every time Click runs out of crude, crass, sub-infantile gross-out gags, it falls back in desperation on the canine duck-humping. Hey there’s one with the duck on top! Hilarious. I didn’t think this brain-dead excuse for comic invention worked in Meet The Fockers, but at least its crudity there was original.

Please accept dear reader, that I do not search out lousy films like this so I can knock them. Life’s too short. Also, I am no prude. If you don’t believe me I confess that despite occasional queasiness, I sometimes find Jonathan Ross funny. Who beneath the usual sycophancy, claimed to really like Click. A salutary warning indeed.

Click is a cross between Meet Joe Black and It’s a Wonderful Life. Aspiring architect Michael Newman (Sandler) is torn between family and ambition. When time at work and time with his family conflict – work wins. Screwed priorities. In a high tech house, TV, Garage, Fan etc are all controlled by different remote controls. Naturally our high-flying professional can’t cope, turning the TV on by opening the garage etc. He resolves to get an all-in-one and toddles off to the mart ‘Bed, Bath and Beyond’. After checking out the beds, he meets in the ‘Beyond’ (the pale perhaps?) department Morty, Christopher Walkern looking as if he’s just failed an audition for the Wizard of Oz. Morty kits him out with what turns out to be a fate-zapper: a remote that controls the world, not just the TV. The catch, (you just knew didn’t you?), is that once accepted you can’t return the control. Sort of a metaphysical e-bay deal.

So far, dog-humping excluded, so good. A neat little idea with some real comic possibilities. All ignored. A guy who couldn’t switch on the TV with a real remote, obviously can’t be trusted to zap fate so Michael uses his new power-tool to screw up his priorities even further. He can fast forward through the tedious or unpleasant bits of his life and visit his future. Morty, who it turns out is the angel of death, pops up every now and then to fill in the plot and point out that it’s Michael’s misplaced values that lose him his wife and kids but gains him the business, 300lbs and a dodgy heart.

Coraci very quickly runs out of smutty ideas on how to fail to make the basic premise funny. So no doubt to give the toy duck a bit of much needed psycho-sexual respite, the tone flips. We are now in a deeply moral tale about what happens if you forget your family values. This is played out with a treacly, sanctimonious earnestness which is almost bad enough to be funny. But not quite. Cue heavenly music: Michael ‘dies’ then wakes up back in the bed department, true sense of values restored. All a dream – or was it? A note from Morty makes us wonder – for about a nanosecond before we escape with relief and at top speed, out of the cinema.

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