The Week Of is a Netflix release starring Adam Sandler and Chris Rock as the respective fathers of an engaged couple. The Meyerowitz Stories proved that Sandler and Netflix can be a successful partnership; The Week Of represents a resumption of normal service for Sandler, with a derisory attempt at a comedy.
Sandler plays Kenny Lustig, a lower-middle class contractor, desperate to give his daughter the best wedding day that his meagre bank balance can provide for. His surname will be sure to disappoint the film’s German viewers: though it translates as ‘funny’, his acting was anything but. Lustig’s counterpart is Kirby Cordice (Rock), a lothario celebrity heart surgeon, introduced by means of a diabolical mid-surgery phone conversation scene, in which he uses the unconscious patients’ hand to flip between incoming calls.
The film struggles through its 110 minutes, relying on heavy-handed humour that is as catastrophic in its attempt to make the viewer laugh as the circumstances that threaten to scupper the Lustig-Cordice matrimony. There are cringes galore, as The Week Of’s weak script is propped up by a hotpot of lazy racial stereotypes: Jews are stingy; Arabs are bumbling fools; black people all look the same. Great uncle Seymour and his lack of legs are the butt of many jokes, his amputee status apparently a rich source of comedic fodder.
The feature attempts contemplative moments, trying to conjure paternal pride and accepting familial change. Attempting to brush a supposedly heart-warming scene with some comic relief, Steve Buscemi (yes, Buscemi!) kamikazes a final farewell with his elderly father, transforming it into a monologue on his historic masturbation into vacuum cleaners.
The highlight of my viewing experience was discovering that the final 7 minutes of the Netflix feature are the rolling credits. In trying to prove that you don’t need money to be happy, The Week Of is an absolute triumph: this big budget production left me anything but.