It’s worth noting that the only reason I ended up watching Billy Madison is because I had a migraine that could’ve knocked out a large mammal and was bedridden for a day or so. It was like being pounded round the head with a golf club and it was what has since been dubbed a “month of illness”. So it’s only fair that while I myself was braindead, I watched something equally as clumsy, useless and horrific as the migraine that had prevented me from watching culturally relevant movies.
Because that’s what we go to Adam Sandler for these days. He was once a plucky up and comer, making great movies like Happy Gilmore, but has since rapidly expired like a carton of milk. Instead he churns out films like Billy Madison, the only real highlight being a rare Norm MacDonald starring role. He only plays chum to Sandler’s titular starring performance though, a man who promises his father he’ll pass all of grade school and in return will receive the CEO position at the company his father retires from.
But as expected, the plot doesn’t really matter. Since it’s a comedy from the early years of the 2000s, it’s more or less your expected can-can of visual and screenwriting tropes. It almost makes you wish the Y2K Bug had been a reality, but Sandler bumbles his way through a truly awful script in no time at all, throwing in his expected romantic sub-plot and effectively mute cameos from famous friends. Chris Farley and Steve Buscemi are among a number of others who can’t escape the grasps of Sandler’s terrifying comedy void.
It’s not that all the jokes are bad though, one or two of them are actually rather good. It’s just that all of the jokes that are good don’t involve Sandler that much, not in a speaking role anyway. There’s a scene rather early on where Norm MacDonald and Adam Sandler set fire to a bag of dog poop on some old neighbour’s porch. Classic buffoonery that would appease a child in the audience, but for stoic fans of Sandler even that seems a bit low brow.
By all means one of the worst outputs Sandler has made to date, and that’s not saying much since most of his outputs recently have been pretty poor to say the least. Horrifically performed and miscast along with jokes that don’t work in the slightest, awful performances and from a director that has done nothing of note before or after wading into the swamp of awful Sandler comedies.