No matter how he may decide to screw up his countenance, the Hollywood Walk of Famer Adam Sandler has a face that makes you want to laugh and a mouth that seems to scream it. But, it’s not just a case of being one thing and appearing another. Instead, millions of movie fans across the world can testify that the jolly actor has put a smile on far more faces than we may ever know. The evidence is there for all to see: a good number of his films are among some of the best comedies that this century can boast of.
This is to say that Sandler might now appear to many people to be so synonymous with comedic roles that he can only be seen goofing around on set. But here below, we have dared to share with you some of his movie roles (out of over 70 of them) that prove beyond doubt that Adam Sandler is not only cut out for comedy films and TV shows.
Indeed, from Funny People to Punch-Drunk Love and Reign Over Me, mixed into Adam Sandler’s inherently comedic filmography are movie roles that brought out his more exceptional acting skills, and earned him a good deal of critical appraisal. So, please, check them out below.
Here Are Roles That Prove Adam Sandler Can Do More Than Comedy
1. As ‘John Clasky’ in Spanglish (2004)
Unlike most of Adam Sandler’s films and TV shows, Spanglish is a 2004 romantic drama about the experiences of a Spanish-speaking and beautiful Mexican woman Flor and her daughter Cristina who relocated to the USA in search of greener pasture. In the film, Adam Sandler showed one of the reasons he is considered a versatile actor by those conversant with his works – even when the comedic actor in him continued to escape from time to time.
Playing John Clasky, the white LA chef whose family—Flor—worked for as a nanny and housekeeper, he showed just how capable he was of showing the full spectrum of human emotions. As his character falls into the deep end of a midlife crisis, the audience is led by Adam Sandler through the emotional turmoil at the other side of being a quiet all-loving American dad endeavoring to put up with his neurotic wife Deborah. At least, not many of us are used to the reality of notable clowns who can express sustained fatherly maturity as Sandler did in Spanglish.
2. As ‘Charlie Fineman’ in Reign Over Me (2007)
Anyone who did not see the trailer of Reign Over Me would have walked into the cinema expecting to see Adam Sandler play his quintessential comedy movie roles. They would have then gotten a big surprise watching him deliver a pretty spectacular dramatic performance instead.
As Charlie Fineman in Reign Over Me, Adam Sandler plays a deranged man who lost his family to 9/11 and in turn, shut himself from the outside world. It is a heavy theme, and one very few people would have considered being a part of Sandler’s wheelhouse.
But he plays the role to perfection, which is encapsulated in a monologue that left many viewers crying. His delicate performance in the film, painting the picture of a man in pain, was nothing short of what you would expect of an Oscar performer. Oh no, so Sandler could make people cry rather than laugh?! Yeah, as you’ve seen of course.
3. ‘George Simmons’ in Funny People (2009)
A film about a comedian suffering from regret after he became a superstar after years of appearing in mediocre comedies is the exact plot that summarizes Adam Sandler’s career. This is probably why his longtime collaborator, Judd Apatow, cast him in a starring role in the dramedy.
Although Funny People is often classified as a black comedy, it is not the comedic side of it that has received the most critical acclaim vis-a-vis Sander’s role. Instead, it was the dramatic elements that brought the actor to the fore.
With Apatow directing, Adam Sandler was able to blur the lines between the character and himself, so much that the film felt like a documentary of his behind-the-scenes life.
4. Barry Egan in Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
When Punch-Drunk Love was released, there was nothing to suggest Sandler was capable of more than being a comedic actor. However, the romantic comedy, Punch-Drunk Love, offered a chance for him to show an aspect of his skill sets that his comedies do not allow him to express.
In the role of Barry Egan, Adam Sandler plays a man seeking love while carrying self-doubt as baggage. It is one of the most relatable characters in rom-com history, and Adam plays him within an inch of perfection by keeping his character grounded in reality.
For his performance, he earned seven out of the 37 award nominations received by the film, including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor.
5. Danny in The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017)
This is one of the more recent works of Adam Sandler after his comedy lost their appeal on the big screen and found their home on Netflix. He plays the role of a man who stays back home to take care of his emotionally abusive aging parents. It is a role you have probably seen onscreen many times, but one you wouldn’t expect Adam Sandler to play in a movie.
As Danny, Sandler delivers a layered performance showcasing the frustration that comes from his parents and his struggles as a generous family man. If there were any doubts that his older dramatic roles weren’t a fluke, his work in The Meyerowitz Stories erased them.
6. Howard Ratner in Uncut Gems (2019)
Following up on his dramatic performance in The Meyerowitz Stories, Adam Sandler teamed up with the Safdie brothers for Uncut Gems. He plays Howard Ratner, a jewelry store owner and a compulsive gambler who has to find a way to pay off his debts.
It is nothing close to Sandler’s comedic wheelhouse. But, he pulls off a performance that earned critical praise across the industry. Certainly not something you would expect from a man who made films like Pixels and The Ridiculous 6.
7. Henry Roth in 50 First Dates (2004)
A lot of romantic comedies find it hard to balance drama and comedy. However, while 50 First Dates is not entirely absolved of that flaw, Adam Sandler delivered a performance that is.
Between his onscreen chemistry with Drew Barrymore and the unraveling of his romantic and emotive side, Adam Sandler, who played a marine biologist trying to get a woman (Drew), who suffers from memory loss, to fall in love with him over and over again, proves that he is more than just fart jokes and his iconic yell.