The Cobbler lands as one Adam Sandler’s more surreal and purposeful films. While having some comedic moments, don’t expect a Sandler comedy in this one. In fact, the film starts off with more of a somber, family tone, has some lighter moments here and there and evolves into something that you may or may not see coming. I have to admit, I saw some things coming but was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of some of the subplots.
The script centers around Max Simkin (Sandler), a simple cobbler following in his absent father’s footsteps running the family business. One day while repairing the shoes of a gangster, Simkin discovers that an old piece of machinery in the basement has the ability to create shoes that allow the wearer to experience life wearing that other person while wearing their shoes. Imagine being able to walk in someone else’s shoes/lives literally and you’ll see where this is going. Yes, the premise sounds a bit out there (and it is) but it’s rolled into the film in a way that is entertaining and intriguing to watch. Bear in mind, you have to just be willing to roll with it, but if you are, it’s an enjoyable ride.
The story evolves in a way that explores some moral landscapes as well as Simkin’s past with his family and a secret legacy. The writing overall is somewhat formulaic but has some refreshing original flairs and plays out in a way that was gratifying. Thomas McCarthy does a fine job directing but doesn’t really put a stamp on it that was unique.
Sandler is his usual self here and Dustin Hoffman is always nice to see in a film. The standout for me was Cliff “Method Man” Smith, he shows some range here and he’s pretty good, I didn’t know he had it in him but you can tell he did his homework studying Sandler’s performance as he had to mimic his behaviors a bit. Steve Buscemi, Ellen Barkin, Dascha Polanco, Miles Harvey and Melonie Diaz are all part of the lineup. Each of the actors I thought put in nice performances. My only criticism regarding the actors is that Diaz’s wardrobe person needed to put her in something that didn’t make her look like she was wearing clothing that fit like a trash bag.
The Cobbler is a decent Sandler film if you’re open to something a little unconventional from him.
reviewed by Sean McKnight