Until it goes sour, Click is a perfectly decent Adam Sandler comedy. The star plays Michael Newman, a successful architect with a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale), two nice kids and a comfortable home. The only thing he doesn't have is time to enjoy his life. His demanding boss (David Hasselhoff) makes him work long hours and keeps him away from his family.
One evening, frustrated by the number of remote controls lying around his living room, Michael goes shopping for a universal remote to make his life a little easier. He finds one all right, thanks to an eccentric salesman called Morty (Christopher Walken), but this is no ordinary remote. It doesn't just pause, mute, rewind and fast forward TV shows and movies, it pauses, mutes, rewinds and fast forwards Michael's life.
This is a fine premise and, for the first half of the movie at least, Adam Sandler gets plenty of comic mileage out of it. He fast forwards through foreplay with his wife, mutes her whiny best friend (Jennifer Coolidge), rewinds to the happiest moments of his life and pauses his boss so he can slap him about and get away with it. Sandler is on good form, there are solid supporting performances from Walken and Hasselhoff (whose insincere lecture about sexual harassment is a great scene) and there's a funny cameo from Rob Schneider.
Then, about an hour in, Click goes sour. How sour? The second half of this film is only slightly more cheerful than World Trade Center. The universal remote, which has a keen artificial intelligence, takes over Michael's life and it begins cruelly destroying him, taking away everything and everyone he loves. I guess this is supposed to be punishment for the crime of neglecting his family.
Click is a film with a message, which is that you shouldn't put work before your wife and children. There's nothing inherently wrong with a comedy having a message. Groundhog Day, in which Bill Murray had to live the same day over and over until he became a better person, is a perfect example of how to blend laughs with a moral subtext. And that's exactly why it works and Click doesn't - in Groundhog Day, the message stays as subtext and doesn't overwhelm the comedy.
Click essentially stops being a comedy after an hour. What happens to Michael after the remote takes control of him is painful and depressing to watch. The tone becomes genuinely grim. The film continues to make stabs at humour but they grow half-hearted.
The writers, Steve Koren and Mark O'Keefe, who were also behind the similar Bruce Almighty, want to work up emotion but their script is shallow and it switches too clumsily between light comedy and drama. Star Adam Sandler, a capable actor, adopts his regular comic persona in the brighter scenes to good effect, but he's unable to do much when the material turns darker.
Of course, this being a mainstream Sandler comedy, Click can't end in abject darkness. There's obviously going to be a twist and it's set up with an astonishing lack of subtlety by director Frank Coraci, who's done much better work with his star in the past (The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy). Click does eventually end happily (please don't tell me this is a spoiler) but that doesn't erase the forty-five minutes of misery we've had to sit through to get there.