This summer marks the 10th anniversary of the film Click. You may be familiar. You might not be. If not, find the nearest person between the ages of 17 and 21 that looks just kind of bummed out. Ask them. They’ll remember.
No one expected that after roles in films like the confounding and beautiful Punch Drunk Love and the awkward Spanglish, Adam Sandler would decide to parley his momentum and star power to trick families across America into watching his harrowing 2006 psychological masterpiece – Click. This is at least the way I’ve rationalized the ten years of trauma afflicted upon my peers and myself by the dark narrative of the film. We were promised a romp, a comedic masterpiece, a distraction. Instead we were conned. And here we are 10 years out, looking back with our internet-honed irony. There’s a Facebook event out there, “Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Click” (it’s June 23rd just so you know). With 800 people “going” (whatever that means) and 1,100 more “interested,” the memes are flying fast.
For those who escaped unscathed, a quick recap: in Click’s first act we are introduced to Adam Sandler’s brow-beaten character, Mike, an architect whose boss John, played by David Hasselhoff, keeps him from his family with infinite busywork and constant emasculation. Mike is looking for a way out. The plot is then set in motion when Mike goes to Bed, Bath & Beyond in search of a universal remote. Mike stumbles upon a “Beyond” section of the store where Christopher Walken’s Morty gives him a truly universal remote which, as the trailer’s voice over tells us, is the “most awesome force” and “most powerful device in the universe.”
Essentially, it can control time, but not super well, and it has a horrendous “auto-pilot” function, the main purpose of which is to keep Click’s plot moving. After some hijinks, the remote’s auto-pilot fast forwards Mike through the vast majority of his life and leaves him desperately trying to undo what the remote has done all on its own. Morty is revealed to be the Angel of Death and there are a bunch of heart attacks and deaths—just a pathos buffet out there. Future Mike realizes he’s blown it and with the last of his energy reaches family to tell them to care for each other before he dies. Mike (no longer old) wakes up in the same Bed Bath & Beyond from the beginning and rejects the remote, and we all leave with a new depth of appreciation for the now – you got to love the now. (I know I do, every second, without pause, just so good that stuff, so good, not a moment I don’t like!)
You can imagine the emotional effect of this plot on the nine-year-old I was at the time. This Adam Sandler film is closer in theme and tone to The Death of Ivan Ilyich than Billy Madison. It was a lost cause after the second act; the redemptive conclusion just wasn’t enough. It barely registered. Instead, Mike’s death served as the trigger for a whole population of depressive Bed, Bath & Beyond customers. So here we are now, just some internet people trying to seem cool, when we should be in mourning for the loss of a generation’s innocence: Christopher Walken, our Angel of Death, and Adam Sandler, the snake in our garden.