The idea is novel: Sandler plays fourth-generation Jewish American cobbler Max in a depressed area of New York City. Business isn't exactly booming, but he's got good heart, a good business neighbour Jimmy (Steve Buscemi) and he dotes on his senile and forgetful mum (Lynn Cohen).
He's grown up with a chip on his shoulder as his dad (Dustin Hoffman) ran out on his mum and him when he was 12.
This mummy's boy discovers an old machine that fixes shoes, which also allows him to step into the body of the shoe owner. This idea, of course, reminds me of Scott Bakula's character in TV's Quantum Leap.
Max steps into the body of a Chinese American man and is shocked to discover that his feet take him to Chinatown. Huh? I'd have thought that since Max is a New Yorker, he'd be comfortable traipsing through one the many racial districts in the city.
Pretty activist Carmen (Melonie Diaz) pleads with him to sign a petition to save the district from being taken over by greedy developer (a tautology?) Elaine (Ellen Barkin). Viewers will immediately sense that Carmen and the developer idea will play a big part in the film.
The film's problem is Sandler, who doesn't seem to have his heart in this film. He looks morose and uninterested. The magic shoe idea also quickly wears thin and viewers will soon be yawning or catching 40 winks in the cinema.
The plot involving a black thug (Method Man) is at once racist and dull. I doubt if viewers would be interested in this contrived plot. Max just doesn't seem like the guy who'd take it on himself to save his neighbourhood for being levelled.
1 out of 5
|Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit model Kim Cloutier gives viewers a peek of her assets in 'The Cobbler'. This scene was snipped off by Malaysian censors.|