Given Adam Sandler’s recent attempts at film making, my hopes were far from high for The Cobbler. Perhaps it was that fact that Sandler did not write or direct this production, merely starred in it, that it was disappointingly enjoyable. Sandler plays Max Simkin, a man who now owns the shoe repair business that has been in his family for generations. Simkin is desperately single and stuck in a rut. Being a cobbler doesn’t claim much fame or fortune.
Until one coincidentally fateful afternoon Cliff ‘Method Man’ Smith wanders into the shoe shop requiring a repair. A reasonable request but the machine Simkin usually relies on breaks down so he has to dig out a dusty family heirloom to make the repairs. Simkin quickly discovers that the shoes he fixes with the old machine are a little different. When he puts their shoes on, he becomes the owner of the shoe. Magic and mild peril ensue.
Simkin starts running around New York disguised as other people, living parts of their lives and causing accidental mischief. Steve Buscemi is the nice old barber who works next to Simkin. I love Steve Buscemi but I didn’t think he was all that necessary for the role or the film. It’s barely a supporting role and he’s better than that. He’s probably only in this because Buscemi and Sandler are old friends and Steve was free/bored that month. Anyway, Buscemi is just lurking around in the background from time to time. Just being there, for no apparent reason. Simkin doesn’t even seem to like him but the barber is quite tolerant.
Method Man was impressive throughout his scenes. Using bravado to be the intimidating gangster and generally a bit of an arsehole. When Simkin slips on his shoes, he adopts his appearance, but not his personality. So seeing how the nice version of Method Man interacts with usual entourage and how his personal values clash with the persona of the gangster he is portraying is mildly entertaining.
Dustin Hoffman appears in a handful of scenes as Simkin’s father. I think he might have owed the producer money because, like Buscemi, wasn’t really warranted. But yeah, Dustin Hoffman. Yay. I think…
In whole, The Cobbler is not something I would go out of my way to watch again but it is ideal for a Sunday afternoon with the family. You’ve just eaten your Sunday roast, your nieces and nephews are too old to watch Dora the Explorer but they’re too young to watch Kill Bill, your old man is going to fall asleep on the couch regardless of what you put on and your mother is going to spend the rest of the afternoon faffing on worrying about things that don’t need attention. The Cobbler is the film for this situation.
3 / 5
Dir: Tom McCarthy
Scr: Tom McCarthy, Paul Sado
Starring: Adam Sandler, Method Man, Steve Buscemi, Dustin Hoffman
Prd: Tom McCarthy, Mary Jane Skalski
DOP: W. Mott Hupfel III
Music: John Debney, Nick Urata
Run time: 99 mins
The Cobbler is available on DVD and On-Demand now.