Okay, first of all, I KNOW a lot of people reading this have already made up their minds about The Week Of. It's a comedy film released on Netflix that stars Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. People will be expecting some wedding shenanigans draped around a plot that feels more like Grown Ups 3. Or they'll be expecting arguments and comedy between Sandler and Rock. Sandler will do a funny voice, he'll do his angry shouty thing, he'll be an average Joe with a ridiculously hot lady in his life and his well-intentioned mishaps will work out well for everyone involved.
Now, hold that thought. Let me run through the very basic plot and we'll come back to this. I promise.
Sandler is Kenny Lustig, the father of a young woman who is about to get married. The young man she is marrying has a rich father (Kirby Cordice, played by Rock) but Sandler wants to assume the usual duties and responsibilities that go with being the father of the bride. Which suits Rock, for the most part, because he's been largely absent from any family duties for a long time. He's a successful surgeon who spends way more time in the company of beautiful women than in the company of his family members. Things start to go wrong, as you may have guessed, and Sandler ends up with pretty much everyone staying in his home on the run up to the big day.
I understand, I do, nothing that I just said in the last paragraph has changed your mind on this one. If anything, I have just reinforced the image of this as a typical Sandler vehicle. And it is a typical Sandler vehicle, in some ways. It's predictable, it allows his flaws to be a positive part of his character, and there are scenes in which he gets shouty and angry.
But in many other ways it's a bit different from the many other Sandler movies we have had throughout the past couple of decades. First of all, the shouty angry moments are behind closed doors, a running joke about Sandler and his wife (played by Rachel Dratch) having brief, big arguments and then coming out to smile at the family and get on with their business. Second, Sandler has a normal-ish family here, and his wife is Rachel Dratch, a pleasant change from him trying to date Drew Barrymore or Jennifer Aniston or any of the other women he has paired himself up with. Third, there are no silly voices and few of the expected gags based around the "oh, boys will be boys" attitude that has permeated almost every other big Sandler comedy. There ARE one or two moments that come close to that (including a stag night sequence) but, overall, this is a film about a dad struggling to make everything perfect for his daughter's big day.
The rest of the cast don't make much of an impression, with the exception of Steve Buscemi, who steals the few scenes that he's in, but the leads are all doing very good work. Dratch and Sandler are a great couple, and very believable together, while Rock has to swan in, be a bit of an ass, and eventually maybe see the error of his ways. Job done.
Director Robert Smigel, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Sandler, does well as the setbacks start to pile up while the wedding day looms ever closer. Minor problems turn into major problems and solutions come and go frequently to ensure that Sandler is never below a very high level of stress. There are even a couple of big laughs, one involving a relative with no legs being taken to the bathroom and one involving Sandler being unable to keep track of the soon-to-be-family members living in his home.
I am going to bravely recommend this film, even to those who tend to hate Sandler. It's not brilliant, it still has him in the lead role (which may be enough to make some viewers unhappy), but both the film and it's star are a lot better than you might expect.
It's on Netflix so, y'know, no wares to be sold here.