Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Deconstructing Sandler: Airheads

I do not own the above image.  For entertainment purposes only.  Copyright 20th Century Fox Film Corporation.  All Rights Reserved.

Guitarist/singer Chazz (Brendan Fraser), bassist Rex (Steve Buscemi), & drummer Pip (Adam Sandler) make up The Lone Rangers, the oxymoronically-named band at the center of Airheads.  Chazz spends his days breaking into poorly guarded record labels hoping to catch an exec in a good enough mood to sign trespassing musicians.  Rex works at a toy store terrorizing customers and bosses.  Pip is a less-than-hunky pool boy whose van doubles as the Rangers transportation.  In an act of desperation, the trio decides to break into a radio station to try to finally break through.  Within minutes they have five hostages, including DJ Ian (Joe Mantegna) & station manager Milo (Michael McKean).
Best joke: I laughed once and chuckled three times at the same thing: Michael Richards’ prat falls.  Richards plays the accountant or business manager or something like that trapped in the station.  He has to navigate through an air conditioning crawlspace.  The looks on Richards’ face are priceless, at first.
Worst joke: Well, being a movie this boring, some jokes had to be terrible.  Well, none were memorably terrible, except one speech that can be considered laughably bad.  The assertion by Frasier’s character that non-grunge late ‘80s/early 90s rock is somehow better than The Beatles would have been the funniest joke if he didn’t have a straighter face than in any shot of The Mummy.
Sandler’s character: Sandler is Pip, the drummer.  Pip is third fiddle not only in the band but also in the script.  He is given little to do except for a minor sub-plot explained later.  Also, other than the description above, little is known or explored of Pip.  Sandler actually excels in this, if only because he is relegated to the background.
Love interest: A totally & completely ditzy secretary, Suzzi, played by Nina Siemaszko, who recently had a bit part in Best Picture winner “The Artist”.  Sandler plays dumb, more like complete moron, and gets the girl.  Pet peeve: Why did nearly every early-to-mid 90’s comedy play it safe when it came to sex?  Case in point: Sandler & Suzzi sneak off to bang.  They are caught a few minutes later.  Suzzi is in her bra & skirt.  Sandler is dressed like Flea.  How good could the sex have been?  Lasted five minutes and she was mostly clothed.
Message: If you are a rock band, don’t sell out.   But if you can’t get attention from anyone, invade and hold-up a radio station!  Actually, this movie, unlike most of Sandler’s stuff, doesn’t really have one.  Kinda refreshing, huh?
Overall Impression: Every once in a blue moon, I see a movie that plays before my eyes, affects me in no visible or measurable fashion and then the credits roll.  “Airheads” is just that.  Nothing happening on screen, except the Richards gags above, caused a feeling other than boredom.  I cared for no one.  The conflict that arises in the third act involving Chaz is totally non-dramatic and non-confrontational for anyone who has seen a movie before.  Of course, what do you expect from the director of “Heathers”?
*(out of five)