Oh how badly timed a film can be. Not only have several poor saps confused this movie for Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight and been fooled into seeing the wrong Western, but when the last thing you did to cinema was writing and starring in Pixels, moving on to a comedy that caused Native American actors to walk off the set, enraged by its portrayal of Apache culture, was possibly not the greatest move on Adam Sandler‘s part. Not that he’s known for always getting the best ideas.
Released specifically to Netflix, with inanity that knows no “chill”, The Ridiculous 6 is just as good as you think it is based on its already existent reputation. I know Sandler keeps finding ways to stay rich, either via fanboys or suckers for punishment, but when your movie gets a grand total of 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, you really need to ask yourself whether or not it’s actually worth it.
Regardless of whether I agree that this is a 0/5 movie, I can see where the criticisms are coming from. Set in the Same Old West, the movie in question follows Sandler as Tommy “White Knife” Stockburn, his middle nickname having been given to him by the Native Americans who raised him. So no, his character is not Native, but the actor who plays the Native girl he’s set to marry (Julia Jones) is, and so are certain side-characters in his home village. This, folks, would be the highlight of the film’s cultural sensitivity. The lady’s name is “Smoking Fox”, by the way. Hah hah hah!
One day, Tommy’s supposedly real father Frank (Nick Nolte) arrives to the Native village seeking his son, but it’s not long before he gets captured by a group of bandits led by Danny Trejo, who demand the location of Frank’s hidden money stash. Vowing to save his father, Tommy sets out on an epic quest during which he begins to learn more about his real family – specifically his long-lost brothers. They’re a Mexican guy played by Rob Schneider (yeah, it’s that kind of film), a “50% white” pianist played by Terry Crews (still that kind of film), a mentally challenged man called Lil’ Pete (Taylor Lautner), a sad drunk played by Luke Wilson, who apparently led John Wilkes Booth to murder Abe Lincoln “on accident”, and a feral hermit named, well, Herm (Jorge Garcia).
Between the six of them, I won’t reveal which one is the charming hero with lots of impressive abilities and skills but let’s just say this: Sandler wrote the script for this movie himself.
Hopefully reluctant bit players in Ridiculous 6 include Will Forte as the boss of the “Left-Eye Gang” (they all wear eye-patches, see), Steve Zahn as his nervous crony, Harvey Keitel as a smiling but angry saloon proprietor, Steve Buscemi as a friendly doctor, John Turturro as Abner Doubleday (with whom our heroes share an amazingly pointless baseball game in the middle of the film), David Spade as George Armstrong Custer, and Vanilla Ice as Mark Twain. And yes, I just typed that sentence without vomiting.
Additionally, some Native Americans did stay to be in the film, such as Saginaw Grant. But as it’s been pointed out, there are also several Native characters played by white actors wearing brownface (because of course they are), with such dignified names as Beaver’s Breath and Never Wears Bra. If you remember the atrocious A Million Ways To Die In The West from 2014, it might start to look more and more like a masterpiece the further you delve into The Ridiculous 6. At least that’s what I’m guessing, having not seen A Million Ways… in almost 2 years and having only vague memories how painful it was to see jokes based around pooping in hats and flowers being inserted into Liam Neeson’s anal cavity.
As is common with Adam Sandler films or Happy Madison productions in general, it’s fun to recap that which has already been said of The Ridiculous 6 by other, equally pissed off critics. The consensus on The A.V. Club reads “As ever, Happy Madison has made what feels like a children’s movie – not necessarily a movie for children, mind, but one made by them.” The aforementioned Rotten Tomatoes page, meanwhile, sums it up like so: “Every bit as lazily offensive as its cast and concept would suggest, The Ridiculous Six is standard couch fare for Adam Sandler fanatics and must-avoid viewing for film enthusiasts of every other persuasion.” I dunno, I think even Little Nicky fans have evolved past this point.
There are some things to like in this film. The scenery is often well-photographed and I loved seeing such “impossible-to-hate” actors as Turturro, Buscemi and Garcia in amusing costumes. But as has been noted, this is still very much an Adam Sandler movie. I wouldn’t say this film is as infuriatingly bad as Pixels but it definitely makes us roll our eyes in unison and go “well, here we go again”.