How do you get the likes of Harvey Keitel, Jack Nicholson, and Al Pacino in the same movie as Kevin James, David Spade, and Rob Schneider? Hell, how do you get anyone in the same movie as Schneider? By having the best sets in town. That’s because most of them are actually just holiday destinations. Sandler stumbled on the idea during pre-production on 50 First Dates. On a whim, he suggested to the studio that they shoot the whole movie in Hawaii – and they agreed. Since then, Sandler has shot almost every movie he’s made either somewhere warm and fun or just in his backyard. Once you start noticing how many of his posters have exotic vegetation in the background, you can’t unsee it.
Of course, a tropical beach isn’t really worth much if you don’t have time to relax on it. Luckily, to quote Sandler, “I didn’t get into movies to please the critics. I got into it to make people laugh and have fun with my friends.” Turns out that not giving a fuck whether or not you’re making bad movies can actually be quite a pleasant experience. The pressure is off because, well, you’re working on an Adam Sandler movie – not even his audiences go in expecting anything more than a couple of semi-amused smirks. The last time Pacino could just have fun acting was probably at his sixth-grade school play. But on the set of Jack & Jill, he could have farted every line and critics would still have blamed it on the movie.
Perhaps most importantly, almost everyone who has worked with Sandler tells the same story: he’s sweet, charming, and the most down-to-earth guy in Hollywood. He’s always in a good mood, refuses to be treated like a movie star, and interacts with everyone (from Jessica Biel to the best boy) like they’re part of the family. So maybe when he asks you to come do his movie, it sounds more like your favorite neighbor inviting you over for a barbecue to shoot the shit and maybe push someone in the pool. Incidentally, we’ve just described the entire plot of both Grown Ups movies.
Calogero: “Sonny was right. The workin’ man is a…is a sucka dad, he’s a sucka.” Lorenzo: “He’s wrong, it don’t take much strength to pull the trigger, but try and get up every morning day after day and work for a living, let’s see him try that. Then we’ll see who’s the real tough guy, the working man is the tough guy.” - A Bronx Tale (1993)