Starring: Adam Sandler, Terry Crews, Steve Zahn, Rob Schneider, Will Forte, Jorge Garcia, Taylor Lautner, Luke Wilson, Nick Nolte, Harvey Keitel, Danny Trejo
Director: Frank Coraci
Mood: If you’re really high and there is literally nothing else to watch.
When I threw on The Ridiculous 6, I needed it to be either stupidly good or stupidly bad. And even though it’s definitely STUPID, it’s otherwise mediocre.
I’m an Adam Sandler apologist. As a grown-ass woman with a nice house and a great job where a lot of people look to me for strategic advice, I not ashamed to say that I still live for The Waterboy. Give me a Sandler/Barrymore rom-com any day of the week.
The problem with The Ridiculous 6 isn’t that it’s an Adam Sandler Western. It’s that it sacrificed every last bit of plot to instead become a redonkulously overpowered string of jokes and pratfalls around Sandler.
Yes, we expect nonstop dick-and-fart jokes from Sandler movies. We also expect to groan, roll our eyes, see guest appearances by every single one of his actor pals from Steve Buscemi and Rob Schneider to Allen Covert and Blake Clark – all present here –and to be mildly offended in a laughable way.
But when you stack a movie with like 30+ prominent actors, market it as a parody of the Western genre, and name it after The Magnificent Seven, you have to f*cking DELIVER.
It pains me to say this, but if you want a raunchy modern Western satire, you’re better off watching A Million Ways to Die in the West.
The Ridiculous 6 opens with Tommy ‘White Knife’ (Adam Sandler) winning a knife fight against a bunch of grizzled bandits. This establishes Sandler as the James Coburn/Lee Byung-hun character from the Magnificent Seven franchise.
Tommy was raised by the Apache people, but is visited by his deadbeat white dad (Nick Nolte) who is then kidnapped by ruthless bandido leader Cicero (Danny Trejo). Tommy sees this as an opportunity to make up for past cowardice that shaped his entire life, so he sets out to rescue dear ol’ dad.
Along the way he meets a series of ridiculous men who all happen to have the same father:
- The half-Mexican Ramon (Rob Schneider, constantly upstaged by his donkey)
- The half-Black pianist Chico (Terry Crews sporting a stereotypical ginormous appendage that can tickle the ivories)
- The semi-sweet, semi-dangerous drunk (Luke Wilson in an above-average performance)
- The wild mountain man (Jorge Garcia in the Charles Bronson/Vincent D’Onofrio role, giving a masterclass in comedy with no dialogue)
- The intellectually challenged Lil’ Pete (I guess this was their best attempt at making Taylor Lautner the opposite of hot man candy)
We encounter a HUGE host of famous Western-era legends, from Abe Lincoln (Dan Patrick) and John Wilkes Boothe (Chris Kattan) to General Custer (David Spade), Wyatt Earp (Blake Shelton), Mark Twain (Vanilla Ice), and Abner Doubleday (John Turturro).
Plus there’s an ornery gang of outlaws led by Will Patch (Will Forte), a vengeful one-eyed man (Steve Zahn), a sociopath saloon owner (Harvey Keitel)… and yes, Steve Buscemi, John Lovitz, and literally everyone else Sandler knows trot out for this movie.
You can see exactly why there’s no plot… every single scene is spent introducing new characters, giving you time to go “oh that guy!”, and rolling their punchlines. You just don’t get enough of anybody to make them memorable. With 50% fewer characters, there could have been an actual story here.
Individually, the performances in The Ridiculous 6 range from “that’s dumb but I never liked him anyway” to “damn, that’s shockingly good, considering.” Half of these actors have honestly done worse.
But you know you’ve struck mediocrity when Vanilla Ice is your standout actor.
And that’s not meant as a read on Ice – his performance as Mark Twain is refreshingly unique and funny in a way that stands way above Schneider’s endless donkey shit gags and Lautner giving you an only slightly less offensive version of Ben Stiller’s infamous Simple Jack – who was INTENTIONALLY offensive, to make fun of actors and film.
Many of the other cameos are also the top performances. Zahn, Forte, Keitel, Turturro, Buscemi, Trejo, Spade, and Nolte are all super fun to watch. Nolte gives you a mix of Josh Brolin’s Rooster Cogburn and hints of late ‘60s Jack Elam characters. Danny Trejo is classic Danny Trejo, and it works.
Sandler takes the quietest part in the movie, which is a stark contrast to his quintessential outraged shouting. The trouble is that although he’s committed to the role and gives you unflinching deadpan, longtime Sandler fans will keep waiting for him to boil over.
It’s like when you’re about to sneeze and it goes away – even though you didn’t necessarily want it, you definitely want it now that you can’t have it.
Where The Ridiculous 6 truly misses the mark is in the writing.
There’s no delicious farce here, no real comedic payoff. It’s a star-studded Western spoof, and you feel this glimmer of hope that decades after making those ’90s SNL alum movies there will be tons of freshness brought to the table. Nope. The whole thing leaning on the same tired old Western stereotypes and dumb gags for laughs.
Sandler’s character holds Apache people in the highest regard, but the Indigenous characters are a weird mix of shallow, whooping stereotypes and toilet humour (hello, Never Wears Bra and Beaver Breath). Apparently several Indigenous actors found it so bad they walked off the set.
The Black man is a genitalia stereotype. Lautner tries to make you laugh at people with developmental disabilities. The Mexican is played by Rob f*cking Schneider. Every time there’s an opportunity to make us laugh with them at the genre, the stereotypes, the people, or the era, we get another spray of donkey shit.
None of this is shocking, mind you. You don’t put on an Adam Sandler Western expecting an Oscar winner. But I was desperately hoping for that feeling of watching something stupidly funny and quotable in all the best possible ways – you know, like ‘90s Sandler movies.
You can’t even really be offended by the material, because it’s all just so predictable. We KNOW these racial stereotypes, and these gross-out jokes. It’s been done.
I don’t wish I’d never seen The Ridiculous 6. There are some surprisingly great moments here, and I’m glad I can now say I’ve seen Vanilla Ice as Mark Twain. I just wouldn’t watch this movie again.