Few celebrate Adam Sandler for his business acumen, yet the comedic stalwart made a revelatory deal with Netflix back in 2014. No one knew it at the time, but Sandler would be the first of many to dip their toes in the streaming market, with his brand’s signature laid back filmmaking approach connecting with an even wider audience (2019’s Murder Mystery was one of Netflix’s most successful original films).
While the Happy Madison business model may have evolved, their tired filmmaking approach is still very much intact, exemplified with their latest misfire The Wrong Missy. The film follows bland everyman Tim (David Spade), who meets the girl of his dreams and decides to invite her to a vacation resort. Instead of inviting Missy, Tim invites another Missy (Lauren Lapkus), whom Tim shared a miserable first date with.
The rest of The Wrong Missy’s barebones 90-minute runtime tries to mine as many jokes out of its over-zealous titular character. There certainly have been more painful (The Do-Over) and borderline incompetent (Father of the Year, which Spade also starred in) Happy Madison efforts, but this latest vehicle never elevates its tired premise.
Borrowing from notorious comedic bombs like All About Steve, this film puts all of its comedic weight on Lauren Lapkus’ shoulders as the eccentric Missy’s. The bubbly actress gives a commendably energetic effort, one that is never properly utilized by Kevin Barnett and Chris Pappas’ dated screenplay. Missy is never imbued with an inch of humanity, with the film treating the earnest people-pleaser as a cringe-worthy nuisance throughout. That is until the forced sentimentality of the third act insults audiences further, pulling an undeveloped 180 only to give a contrived message about not judging a book by its cover.
These problems could be forgivable if the project presented any noteworthy gags, yet The Wrong Missy consistently goes through the motions. David Spade appears to be sleepwalking as Sandler surrogate Tim, failing as the straight man foil to Lapkus’ hijinks. Whether its C-list Sandler favorites popping in (Nick Swardson and Rob Schneider play the same loathsome stereotypes) or the use of a lush vacation setting to backdrop the story (it’s almost comical how Happy Madison productions have evolved into an excuse for a vacation), the played-out trademarks of Sandler-produced joints are as present as ever. Even if there are worse offerings in the Happy Madison catalog, The Wrong Missy is likely to be a forgotten blur for content-starved audiences [C-].
Written by Matt Conway