The Cobbler

THE COBBLER directed by Thomas McCarthy,.

THE COBBLER directed by Thomas McCarthy, written by McCarthy and Paul Sado, with Adam Sandler, Method Man, Melonie Diaz and Steve Buscemi. An Entertainment One release. 98 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (March 13). Rating: N

Where to watch: iTunes

Gifted writer/director Thomas McCarthy goes terribly wrong with this comedy about Max (Adam Sandler), a Lower East Side cobbler who finds a magical stitching machine that lets him impersonate anyone whose shoes it repairs.

It’s basically a tone-deaf remake of Sam Raimi’s Darkman, with Sandler using his mystical power to goof on annoying jerks and help a nice young woman (Melonie Diaz) fight a scheming developer (Ellen Barkin) bent on gentrifying their neighbourhood.

Given how textured and developed McCarthy’s films have been before this (The Station Agent, The Visitor), The Cobbler is startlingly thin and naive, especially in regard to the larger implications of its hero’s actions. 

I can’t hang this on Sandler even he seems to be trying to sell the impossible concept. And it’s not like McCarthy was trying to make a Sandler comedy in the first place. The Cobbler doesn’t really resemble a Happy Madison production beyond the presence of Steve Buscemi in a small role.

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