Cute references to Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore and others aren’t enough to totally excuse Adam Sandler’s worn out material.
On top of everything else, there is a kind of strange duality at work in the Netflix comedy, as while the film does an unfortunate job showcasing the star’s exhausted gimmick, it also has a funny way of making you remember and appreciate the golden years with frequent references. The very first scene of the film features the return of Ben Stiller’s overly-aggressive nursing home attendant from Happy Gilmore, and it sets a particular tone that is carried throughout the film. Julie Bowen, who played the female lead in the golf comedy, has reunited with Sandler for the first time since the 1990s playing the romantic interest, and she even once again has double-V initials. Multiple references are made to Billy Madison, The Waterboy, Hotel Transylvania, and more, and as is always the case with Easter eggs, they feel like fun rewards for audiences paying attention. It’s a diversion that works in a movie that has plenty of diversions that don’t.