Usually it takes an Adam Sandler film to actually open before the unfunniness starts to offend people, but he saved something special for Netflix, it seems. His controversial Western-comedy “The Ridiculous 6” was met with waves of criticism months before it opened due to some crass jokes made at the expense of Native Americans, causing some of the cast to walk out in protest. Good for them, but the bigger question is why didn’t EVERYONE walk out from the moment they read the cliche-riddled screenplay which takes the most American of genres and tramples it like a herd of buffalo.
It’s a wonder if Netflix is beginning to regret the bizarre 4-picture exclusive deal they agreed to with Sandler after this atrocious first effort, which has a recurring gag about an incontinent donkey that sprays poop everywhere. It’s perhaps the perfect analogy for the crap Sandler has smeared all over Westerns here, beginning with his lazy cowboy drawl that he must think sounds like John Wayne. Well, it does…if maybe John Wayne had been kicked in the head by his horse one too many times. Sandler plays Tommy, “hilariously” nicknamed White Knife (y’see, because he’s white!) because he’s been taught to be good with a blade. Raised by the Apaches, whose women sport names like “Beaver Breath”, “Poca Hot Tits”, and “Wears No Bra”, Tommy somehow possesses superhuman speed like an X-Man which allows him to be faster than a speeding bullet. But he’s never known his real father, that is until outlaw Frank Stockburn (Nick Nolte, having a REALLY bad year) rides into camp looking for his long-lost boy.
After Frank gets kidnapped by a rival gang (led by Danny Trejo), Tommy sets out to steal enough money to get him set free. As he sets out to commit his crimes, only against those who deserve it, of course, Tommy discovers that dear ol’ Dad spread his seed all across the frontier. He’s got brothers on top of brothers, and each weirder than the next. Rob Schneider plays Ramon, a Mexican with the aforementioned poopy donkey; Taylor Lautner is the dim-witted Lil Pete, who sports one extra nipple because that’s funny (?); Terry Crews is Chico, a muscle-bound piano player so stupid he thinks others can’t tell he’s black; Jorge Garcia is Herm, who looks like a big furry Eskimo; and Luke Wilson is the semi-normal Danny, whose incompetence led directly to Abraham Lincoln’s murder. It’s hard to tell why anyone felt this gaggle of goofballs would be funny, especially since none of them do anything especially humorous outside of their most obvious features. But that is just a sign of the overall laziness of the screenplay co-written by Sandler and his frequent accomplice, Tim Herlihy. The only thing less inspiring is the direction by Frank Coraci, who somehow manages to make wide-scope Panavision look like every other bland Sandler comedy ever.
Westerns are generally the most straight-forward of narratives but “The Ridiculous 6” circles the wagons around one lousy comic setpiece or cameo after another. In one, John Turturro plays supposed baseball creator Abner Doubleday, who enlists the gang for a game that makes the Bad News Bears look like World Series champs. Steve Buscemi makes his token appearance as a barber who uses ointment to soothe the donkey’s sore ass…then he proceeds to use that same handful of ointment on the guys. Where are the jokes? Certainly it’s not in Vanilla Ice’s portrayal of a hip-hop Mark Twain. Expect all of Sandler’s pals, y’know, the ones nobody else will hire, to make their (lack of) presence felt. “The Ridiculous 6” isn’t even smart enough to be a proper spoof of the Old West. It doesn’t actually say anything at all, it just tells the same ol’ Sandler gags but with a few tumbleweeds rolling by. At least Seth MacFarlane’s “A Million Ways to Die in the West”, itself pretty damn awful, had a point about the absurd masculinity of the time period. “The Ridiculous 6” has a pooping burro. How’s that for money well spent, Netflix?