BEVERLY HILLS, California — The movie “Click” was shot on a cutting-edge Panavision Genesis digital camera, embellished with revolutionary computer-controlled visual effects and recently was used by Sony to display the groundbreaking technology behind its upcoming Blu-ray DVD player.
The stars of the film, however, have no idea what any of that means.
“I’m terrible, I’m dumb and I’m useless,” technology challenged funnyman Adam Sandler said of his real-life deficiencies with anything resembling the high-functioning remote control — which allows him to pause, rewind or fast-forward life — he wields in the film.
“I’m hopeless,” grinned Kate Beckinsale, who plays his put-upon wife in the movie. “I rely almost entirely on my 7-year-old daughter to operate the television. It’s not good, not good at all.”
“I like a book,” she added. “I know how to operate a book.”
“What’s pathetic is that I do all these movies with Sony, [so] I have all this stuff in my house,” Sandler ranted. “[I get] presents from the chairman of Sony — he’ll send me the newest Sony gadgets. I just stare at them and I’m like, ‘I don’t even know what the hell that thing does!’ My friends come over and are like, ‘No way!’ and then they start playing with it, and I just walk out of the room. I’m like, ‘You guys can have that if you want.’ ”
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Making friends with Sandler clearly has a multitude of benefits. Some perks even go beyond electronics handouts — just ask Rob Schneider, David Spade, Allen Covert or any of the other talents who regularly appear in the flicks Sandler’s Happy Madison company produces. For Frank Coraci, that loyalty paid off when Sandler grabbed the “Click” script and once again came looking for his “Waterboy” and “Wedding Singer” director and longtime friend.
“We were in the same dorm at New York University. My roommate, Jack [Giarraputo,] is now the producer of all [Sandler’s] movies,” Coraci said, recalling their first impromptu meeting some 20 years ago. “We hung out one night, went out to a bar and got drunk, came back and we just started making each other laugh. We stayed up until the sun came up, goofing around, and we were like, ‘Wow, this is the coolest! There are other people goofy like us!’
“Adam was in a lot of my short films, and I would go see him do stand-up, so we were all there from the beginning, creating the Sandler-esque humor,” continued the director, who returned to the Happy Madison fold after spreading his wings for the non-Sandler flick “Around the World in 80 Days.” “From the beginning, we were like, ‘Let’s try to do something different,’ and we called it the ‘Shnorf’ humor,” a gibberish term that emerged to describe the kind of unusual sensibility the group developed.
For “Click,” Sandler wanted Coraci to start with Shnorf jokes and add on a high-concept plot and emotional weight that are typically absent from his comedies. The real-life remote control was a hilarious idea, but “the thing that was attractive to all of us was the second half of the movie,” Sandler said of the point at which his fast-forward-dependent Michael Newman realizes he’s skipped over all of life’s important little moments. Sandler admits he’s aware that his fans will be looking for his typical comedic timing.
“People who’ve seen some of my movies in the past can handle it,” Sandler said. “We give you enough jokes to relax you, but it also gets heavier than ever before in one of our movies.”
But don’t worry, Coraci insists — there’s still plenty of Shnorf to go around. “We used to play this game, it was an acting exercise, and we made it into our own funny thing where you’d get a beat going and a person would go, ‘Habu-bashu-bada,’ making [gibberish] sounds, and everybody would repeat it,” the director remembered of lost evenings spent with a young Sandler. “In ‘The Waterboy,’ we had Farmer Fran talking in Shnorf language, and it’s one of those things that’s so obscure, it’s funny — like the gibberish in ‘Billy Madison.’ ”
As the actors point out, both behind the scenes and onscreen, “Click” is driven as much by interpersonal relationships and fond memories as it is by technology. And both types of elements came into play during several scenes that use high-tech movie magic to transform the stars into younger and older versions of themselves, to literally dramatic effects.
“I’m from England — I wasn’t even remotely groomed until about 22,” Beckinsale said of one of the visual-effects scenes that is supposed to recapture her and Sandler as innocent teenagers. “I was a monster at 17.”
“You looked awesome in that scene,” Sandler giggled. “She looked very nice.”
For many of the scenes in the more serious second half of the film, however, the stars underwent a combination of prosthetics and computer-generated technology to render their futures anything but pretty. “He looked like a mixture of Humphrey Bogart and George Burns,” Beckinsale laughed, referring to the moments where computer effects allowed a young Sandler to interact with his old, overweight alter ego. “Adam did get more jowls than I did.”
In real life, Sandler claims that he doesn’t care how old or fat he gets — as long as the future version of himself never loses his sense of what’s important. “He’d be a lot fatter,” the comedian laughed when asked about a senior-citizen version of himself. “He’d be even more angry, but hopefully his kid likes him. That’s all he wants: his kid and his wife to still say, ‘I love you.’ But, I think I’ll get that.”
“Oh, God,” Beckinsale grinned when asked the same question. “I would hope that I’ve been talked out of Botox and face-lifts, number one. I don’t want to turn into a crazy old lady. I would hope that [daughter] Lily has provided me with several grandchildren. I will be baking, fairly overweight and will be a big, rosy-cheeked, happy grandma.”
With any luck, Lily’s kids will also be able to teach their grandma and obese Uncle Adam how to operate their Blu-ray machines, so that they can similarly rewind to their glory days.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Click.”