Film Review - Stanley Kubrick's "Shot Clock" starring Adam Sandler (!)
Updated: Aug 23, 2019
'Shot Clock' (2016)
A Fake Film Review by Gareth Bennett
Long lost Stanley Kubrick / Adam Sandler rarity, 'Shot Clock', surfaces with release
Few movies are more deserving of the acronym WTF than, 'Shot Clock'. This war-comedy - long rumored destroyed by execs at Warner Brothers in order to protect the auteur's legacy - was filmed in England in late 1998, soon after principal photography wrapped on Kubrick's "last" film, 'Eyes Wide Shut'. 'Shot Clock' was never completed as the director died soon after locking picture on 'Eyes'.
Now restored under the scrupulous supervision of longtime Kubrick collaborator, Jan Harlan ('Eyes Wide Shut', 'Full Metal Jacket') and edited by Spielberg's favorite cutter, Michael Kahn ('Lincoln', 'War Horse', 'A.I.') The resulting film plays out something akin to an extended Monty Python sketch. But with more farts. Now finally being released by Sony Pictures (04/01) One senses Warner wanted nothing to do with this at all.
It tells the story of Ned Krenshaw (Sandler), a playful, womanizing, man-child and New York Times sports reporter, who after losing a bet with his editor is sent to Iraq to cover the war. Embedded with a group of aggressive reservists, made up of painful stereotypes ("The Fat Guy", "The Black Guy", "The Lesbian", et al) joining them on security details on the mean streets of Baghdad. While there he falls in love, learns important life lessons and helps a male camel give birth (don't ask).
Sound funny? Well, it isn't.
- Sandler playing a game of hoops with a group of impoverished Iraqi children (beating them soundly). Ha?
- A love scene, where the lovers don flak jackets and Sandler describes his seminal fluid as: "Spa-llujah" Har?
- But the most tasteless moment happens when Sandler, sporting a burqa for some reason, is lustily hit on by a pack of amorous Iraqi men, who chase him through a dusty backlot, à la, 'Benny Hill'. This sequence tops this reviewer's list of the most culturally insensitive scenes of the last decade. Blech.
The whole thing feels painfully forced and not at all reminiscent of Kubrick's 1962 classic war-satire, 'Dr. Strangelove'. Adam Sandler is no Peter Sellers. The only touch of the 'Old Kubrick' we get is a series of long shots introducing the war. But this dark sentimental montage ends abruptly when Sandler gets a nut-shot from the main gun of an M1 Abrams tank.
The sole redeeming virtue in this sad SNAFU is a touching performance by (then newcomer) actress, Vera Farmiga ('Up In The Air', 'The Departed') as an impassioned N.G.O. peace activist and Sandler's unlikely love interest. She seems to be in a different film, altogether. I wish she'd take me there.
Jack Nicholson, who of course worked with Kubrick years earlier, starring in the 1980 horror classic, 'The Shining', makes a cameo as a greedy military contractor. After delivering a long speech about how, "War is one of humanity's greatest gifts", Sandler responds with his character's signature catch phrase : "The only thing worth going to war for is a nice piece, am I right?" No Adam, not even close.
'Shot Clock's odd combination of potty humor and pathos was better left on the dung heap of Hollywood misfires.
My apologies, Mr. Kubrick.
* out of ****