Shame, Ridiculous 6. Shame, shame.
Light Brigade /Bauer-Griffin
After an incident on set in which several Native American actors—and the cultural advisor—walked off Adam Sandler’s The Ridiculous 6, Netflix released a (sh*tty) non-apology basically saying we were harshing their mellow by overreacting because the movie is “broad satire” and the diverse cast is “in on the joke”. So I watched it, released on Netflix as part of a four-picture deal with Adam Sandler’s Ponzi Scheme*, over the weekend, to see if it’s as bad as it seemed. I can now report that yes, The Ridiculous 6 is every bit as bad as you think it is. It’s racist, sexist, misogynistic, lazy, crass, reprehensible—and a waste of an actually decent premise.
The idea of six brothers from another mother forming an outlaw gang and spoofing Westerns is solid. It feels like something Mel Brooks might once have done, or that Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement could turn into a brilliant parody. But in Sandler’s hands, it’s the least of all possible outcomes. Written by Sandler and his co-conspirator* Tim Herlihy, Ridiculous 6 centers on “White Knife” (Sandler), a white man raised by the Apache after he’s orphaned. White Knife is about to marry his sweetheart, Smoking Fox (Julia Jones, who looks like she wants to set everyone on fire), when his biological dad (a grizzled, borderline narcoleptic Nick Nolte) shows up, in need of help. To save his father White Knife ends up uniting with his long-lost half-brothers, and the wholesale denigration begins.
The Netflix non-apology dubbed this con job* “satire”, which it definitely isn’t, but characters also start throwing the word “satire” around after every bad joke, which makes it seem like a dig at the people who would be offended. The main problem is that none of the jokes are actually satirical, proving that Sandler & Company have no concept of what satire actually is. It would be more accurate if, after each failed joke, the actors shouted “garbage” at one another. It might not be satire, but this twat-wafflery is definitely hot steaming garbage.
Over the course of the scam*, every actor involved is humiliated—except Sandler—but none more so than Taylor Lautner, whose character, Simple Jack, is a buck-toothed simpleton who is a virgin except for “cantylopes”, and who thinks women poop babies. Lautner suffers every indignity, up to and including having his dick sucked by a donkey. It’s enough to make you pine for the simpler era of Twilight, when the most embarrassing thing Taylor Lautner did on screen was fall in love with a baby.
Nearly as bad as Simple Jack in the Offensive Sweepstakes is Rob Schneider’s Taco Bell Chihuahua, a poncho-wearing Mexican cartoon who loves his burro and tacos and speaks in a hideous stereotypical accent. Also the burro has explosive diarrhea, in case you were wondering if it could get any worse. As always, the lesson with Happy Madison cons* is that it can ALWAYS get worse.
Which brings us to the portrayal of Native Americans—it’s atrocious, as expected. You can tell the cultural advisor quit because the Apache live in teepees, just like the Plains Indians of which they were not part. There really are female characters called “Beaver’s Breath” and “Wears No Bra”, and every time White Knife does something seemingly impossible, everyone says, “That’s some mystical sh*t,” as if contributing to the Magical Native American trope is a good thing. These characters are not in on the joke, they are the butt of the joke, but I don’t expect a man who doesn’t know the definition of “satire” to understand the difference.
But by far the worst and most offensive thing in The Ridiculous 6 is that Sandler fancies himself a hero. White Knife is basically a Native version of Marvel’s Iron Fist—a white boy outsider raised within a mystical warrior culture, who learns to harness a superhuman power and then uses it to fight for justice. Between this and The Cobbler, I think Sandler wants to be in a superhero movie, and I am imploring you, Hollywood, do not make his dream come true.
Adam Sandler is the worst kind of racist—the kind who hides behind the “equal opportunity offender” banner. He thinks because he mocks white people, Mexicans, Native Americans, the Chinese, and black people that he can’t possibly be racist. But really he’s just a supersized asshole, and saying sh*tty things about different groups of people doesn’t make the things you say any less sh*tty. It just makes you a bigger asshole. At this point Sandler has morphed into a giant gaping asshole who sh*ts out “movies” just to keep his elaborate financial scam* running. For signing a four-picture deal with him, Netflix deserves to be fleeced.