After years of not knowing much about him, I’ve recently been getting extremely interested in David Spade as a comedic talent. Like most people, I’ve always loved The Emperor’s New Groove, in which he played the main character, and I now figured that I enjoyed his performance enough that I should seek out more of his comedy. As far as I can see, his main shtick is talking about how rich and famous he is from a nonchalant, self-deprecating point of view. I love myself a good contradiction, and I think his voice in particular is hilarious, so naturally I grabbed onto him.
I didn’t know much about the film when I first picked it out, initially only choosing it because it was the only original film releasing on Netflix this week, and I assumed that I should at least review something. I got a bit excited when I realized who was playing the protagonist, the one and only David Spade, but I became less excited when I realized that Adam Sandler was a credited personality. Now, Adam Sandler…can be funny as well, and has pulled in one or two serious performances, but we all know what to expect from one of his modern day comedies. I’ve seen Eight Crazy Nights, I’ve seen Jack and Jill, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s all I need. But I’ll bite…what is there to get from The Wrong Missy?
At the center of the film is, if you couldn’t guess, David Spade, who plays an older bachelor (which is perfect casting if I’ve ever seen it) who meets a girl named Melissa on a blind date in the cold open. He is immediately put off by her kooky, somewhat sexual sense of humor and overall personality. After avoiding her like the plague for several weeks, he meets another woman named Melissa on the way to a work getaway to Hawaii. He invites one of the Melissa’s from his contact list to the Hawaii trip, and I’m sure you can guess where the film goes from there. The original Missy ends up accompanying him instead, hilarity and classic romantic comedy tropes ensue from there.
And look. If a film like this was going to revolve around any comedian, I pray that it would be David Spade. Casting Spade in a movie about meeting and having sex with girls way past his prime is like casting Daniel Day Lewis as a method actor who immerses himself into every role. I know that Spade is usually a safe bet for an Adam Sandler-produced comedy, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Spade was the one and only choice that Happy Madison had for the lead. Everything slid into place the moment he was cast, so…why did I end up feeling so cold towards this movie anyway?
Well, one can assume that I feel cold towards the film for multiple reasons, so let’s get the most obvious picks out of the game early. First of all…this is an Adam Sandler comedy. Everybody knows what to expect from a modern Adam Sandler comedy. You’ve got poor pacing, you’ve got dirty humor, and overall you’ve just got little to no care put in. As for the pacing, at no point did I believe the chemistry between any two characters, nor did I think the arcs of the characters or their chemistry did anything to help the film. It also doesn’t help that though it technically fits the classic three act structure, I would genuinely say that the third act doesn’t even start until we have ten minutes left in the film. That is absurd, how does a screenwriter screw up at their job that badly?
As for the dirty humor, I would say that it’s not that type of humor in a vacuum that I dislike. Used sparingly, or even just used by a fantastic comedian (not unlike Spade), I think dirty humor can really work. I wish it was used more sparingly in general, but my point is that I’m not going to criticize the content for being there. And yes, Spade’s delivery, especially with the dirty humor, often hits the nail on the head. His delivery is often so perfect that I would say it can sometimes raise a bad movie to at least a passable one. And though my score was positively affected by his presence, that’s absolutely not true with The Wrong Missy, unfortunately.
The weird thing about my relationship with this movie is that I think a lot of the comedy is…fine. Spade and Lauren Lapkus (the actress who portrays the original Missy) both do relatively okay jobs, and I may just have to seek out more of the latter’s comedy as well. Hopefully she does stand-up. But at the same time, a superior amount of their line deliveries fall preposterously flat. I can tell that these both can be amazingly funny comedians, but I would go as far as to say that a lot of the time they aren’t even trying in this film. Maybe that’s the issue, or maybe it’s that the writing doesn’t play to their strengths. The best argument in my opinion is that it’s both.
So no, I wouldn’t say this is significantly different from the other Happy Madison projects I’ve seen in full or even just seen clips of. In fact, I’m willing to bet that you could point out almost any Happy Madison film, find it out of the pack, and know exactly which company made it. You know some of the cast members, you know what sort of comedy it goes for, and you can certainly tell by how poorly made it is. Basically the only thing this has that Eight Crazy Nights and Jack and Jill didn’t have was a title so obvious that I bet they came up with it decades before they even made a log line. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised.
The Wrong Missy can be streamed on Netflix.
It is rated TV-MA by the MPAA.