To call The Ridiculous 6 one of Adam Sandler’s worst movies might actually be giving it more credit than it deserves – that is to say, such a sentiment presumes this two-hours-too-long excrement heap of cringe-inducing dialogue and Razzie-worthy acting is a “movie” at all. It certainly doesn’t feel like one, given that actual movies usually possess some semblance of comprehensible plot, visual beauty or competently written dialogue. The Ridiculous 6 doesn’t have any of that.
Instead, this Netflix original (wisely buried by the streaming service, which foolishly agreed to make a total of four films with this team) plays more like a collection of lazily offensive (and, more to the point, unfunny) sketches connected by a supremely flimsy, not to mention consummately boring, story arc. It’s an homage to the Western genre seemingly acted, written and directed by a group of people who have never seen one in their lives.
Sandler, who also co-wrote the agonizingly bad script with frequent collaborator Tim Herlihy, sleepwalks through the lead role of White Knife, the son of career thief Frank Stockburn (Nick Nolte). Abandoned in the care of an Apache tribe, White Knife is brought up to be an expert in hand-to-hand combat, knife play and, as onlookers put it far too many times during the film, “mystical shit.” Unfortunately, the character’s upbringing also means Sandler feels entitled to play the guy as a particularly weary, brooding sort of bastard, whose dialogue is communicated in everything from huffing, broken English to a twangy drawl (apparently depending on what the actor was feeling on that particular morning).
Though the material here is admittedly far from fascinating, that Sandler’s still in perpetual hangdog mode, disengaged from everything going on around him, just speaks to how little the comedian cares about bringing actual comedy to the films he inhabits anymore. He just shows up, mumbles a few lines under his breath then retreats off-screen, presumably to a comfy chair and a cooler full of brewskis (that might be a tad unfair but, on the other hand, it’s hard not to notice that comedies like Blended and Just Go With It have essentially just paid for Sandler’s vacations, so maybe it’s not).
It’s entirely possible that The Ridiculous 6 could contain the worst performance of Sandler’s career, and the Netflix execs who trusted him should be fuming right now about just how much of a joke the comedian seems to consider his new contract. Director Frank Coraci, best known for his work with Sandler, doesn’t lift a finger to nudge the actor out of his dopey stupor, instead going along with it and accepting the project’s innate ghastliness.
The main action of The Ridiculous 6 picks up when White Knife is reunited with dear old dad, only to see him abducted by the dastardly Cicero (Danny Trejo). Hoping to steal enough money to pay off Cicero and retrieve Frank, White Knife ventures out into the unknown, only to learn that Frank was a notorious ladykiller back in his day and sired five other sons. There’s Mexican stereotype-stew Ramon (Rob Schneider), who drags an incontinent burro around with him wherever he goes; the mentally retarded, guffawing Lil Pete (Taylor Lautner); unintelligible mountain man Herm (Jorge Garcia); dim-witted drunkard Danny (Luke Wilson); and Chico (Terry Crews), a piano-playing oaf who discreetly “comes out as black” to multiple characters over the course of the film. They’re all as unbearably, insensitively portrayed as you’re imagining.
In pursuit of their father, the central six drift from scene to scene with all the urgency of tumbleweeds. Sandler and Herlihy’s script has such a bare-bones story that it chooses to take the SNL route, bringing its protagonists up against a bizarre assortment of historical figures, from John Turturro’s baseball-inventing Abner Doubleday to David Spade’s sharp-shooting General Custer and a jive-talking Mark Twain played by Vanilla Ice. (Yes, you read that right. Mark Twain is in this movie, and he’s played by rapper/actor/Houston Texans’ bad-luck charm Vanilla Ice. No, I don’t get it either.)
Now, cameos aren’t inherently a bad idea in a movie like this, but they’re placed so randomly and pieced together so haphazardly as to completely kill any rhythm or momentum the film could have possessed in slightly more capable hands. The result is a movie so disastrously, dopily pasted together that most audiences will find themselves tempted to tune in and out, digesting the pic in smaller, more stomachable episodes rather than all at once.
The abundance of undesirable –isms that accompany the movie’s so-called “Ridiculous 6,” as well as supporting characters like Native American women with names like “Beaver Breath” and “Wears No Bra,” is indicative of just how lowest-brow its comic sensibilities really are. Sandler claims his film is a “satire,” a raucous send-up of life in the Wild Wild West. (Blazing Saddles has been cited as an inspiration, but Sandler more tries to imitate Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West, only to fail so miserably that it ends up making that mess seem like an all-timer). But the truth is that there’s nothing satirical or even triflingly amusing about the bare-faced misogyny and race-oriented punchlines Sandler brings to the table here. He may have been striving for edginess, but The Ridiculous 6 is just plain ugly.
If there’s any upside to The Ridiculous 6, shameful waste of perfectly good celluloid though it is, this thing is so mind-bogglingly bad that it should (if there is in fact a God) be the last time anyone is foolhardy enough to give money to a project from the creative team of Sandler, Herlihy and Coraci. Especially when working together, this trio has been responsible for some of the most childish, grotesquely offensive and thoroughly meritless filmmaking to come out of Hollywood in the past few years, and it’s saying a lot that The Ridiculous 6 is their nadir. Humiliating every actor in its cast (especially poor Lautner, a household heartthrob before Sandler got his hands on him) with a shockingly lazy script and all-thumbs direction, it’s one of those rare movies so utterly devoid of value that, were it released direct-to-DVD, it would burn a hole through the bottom of whatever bargain bin it’s hastily hurled into.
The Ridiculous 6 is the worst thing to happen to Netflix since its self-inflicted Qwikster fiasco back in 2011, a two-hours-too-long cesspool of gross-out gags and casual bigotry.