Title – The Cobbler (2014)
Director – Thomas McCarthy (The Station Agent)
Cast – Adam Sandler, Method Man, Melonie Diaz, Steve Buscemi, Dan Stevens, Ellen Barkin, Dustin Hoffman
Plot – Struggling New York cobbler Max Simkin (Sandler) discovers a magical shoe repair machine in his store that allows him to become the owners of the shoes he repairs setting up a world of opportunities for Max, both good and bad.
“Don’t do anything you’re going to regret”
Review by Eddie on 1/09/2015
The Cobbler comes to you straight from the man that bought us the fantastic The Station Agent, the moving The Visitor, the engaging Win-Win and penned Pixar’s most moving picture Up so you’d be expecting something quality wouldn’t you? I know I was! But sadly The Cobbler is one of the biggest misfires I can recall in recent memory thanks to a dire story, an inept script and a complete failure to make a mark as either a comedy, a modern day fantasy or a drama.
The strangest thing about this bonkers film is that (as you can see in the opening paragraph) it’s from a man that has shown not only great talent as a storyteller but as a director, yet the Cobbler could just be the film that undoes all Thomas McCarthy’s fine work.
It’s not hard to see what McCarthy or co-writer Paul Sado were aiming for here, but it misses the mark by such a large margin you must wonder where it all went so south so quickly. McCarthy’s direction is lifeless and at times frankly amateurish, the whole film lacks any imagination in the imagery department and a dull tone flows through the whole project. In examining the script also it must be noted that for a professional writer, the Cobbler commits the mortal movie making sin of being far too many things without mastering any of them and as the story of Sandler’s lowly cobbler Max progresses we fly between creepy curiosity at Max’s new found life as anyone with a sized 10 and half shoes as he spy’s on women in the shower, then inhabiting his dad to go on a creepy date with his mum who longs to see him once more, then the film goes even more AWOL when Max finds himself a modern day hero saving the everyman from nefarious construction moguls.
In amongst all this mess is an at least trying Adam Sandler, but continuing on a long line of forgettable performances this could just be one of Sandler’s worst attempts at doing something other than a Happy Madison vacation… I mean movie. Sandler is not alone in these stakes however as every single performer in the Cobbler looks either bewildered, lost or just at a sense of realisation that what they’re apart of is an irredeemably weird film. It’s a shame this is the case as McCarthy as a director has always seemed to get the best from actors that would seemingly stem from his many quality gigs in the game from stints in the Wire through to films like Syriana.
With an outstandingly bad final act this is a huge big misfire saved slightly by some nice ideas, not execution, The Cobbler marks a worrying moment in the career of McCarthy’s director faze and one can only hope this is a big blip on the radar that can soon be forgotten with another quality character study in the vein of his earlier works just around the corner.
1 red scarf out of 5