Adam Sandler was one of the biggest stars of the multiplex throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Many of the era’s highest-grossing comedies were headlined by Sandler. But about a decade ago, he signed with Netflix and transitioned into streaming, starting with his western parody The Ridiculous 6. Fans of the Sandman might never get to see one of his Happy Madison comedies on a big screen again, but thanks to Netflix, they’ll have at least one new one to look forward to every year.
Sandler is currently working on a sequel to his Netflix hit Murder Mystery for the streamer, but there’s no release date set as of yet. Over the past few years, Netflix has racked up quite a collection of Sandler-starring original movies to check out in the meantime.
According to IMDb users, Sandler’s first Netflix original is still the weakest. The Ridiculous 6 is one of the few movies to receive a score of 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. A spoof of the western genre, it revolves around six estranged brothers in frontier times who set out to find their long-lost bank-robbing father.
The movie as a whole isn’t particularly strong – as its IMDb rating would suggest – but there are a few great standout scenes, like the invention of baseball where every rule is fabricated on the spot so that Abner Doubleday will win that particular game.
A horror comedy set in Salem, Massachusetts, Hubie Halloween is led by an ensemble cast made up of such Happy Madison regulars as Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, and Rob Schneider.
Sandler plays an obsessive Halloween fan who endures the pranks of the townspeople every Halloween night. When those townspeople start getting picked off by a mysterious kidnapper, Hubie sets out to get to the bottom of it. Critics didn’t love Hubie Halloween, but they felt it was stronger than most of Sandler’s other Netflix comedies (although IMDb users thought differently).
Set in Hollywood in the mid-1990s, Sandy Wexler revolves around a down-on-his-luck talent manager who makes up for his lack of showbiz savvy with his commitment to his clients. Sandy represents a wide range of artists, including a ventriloquist, a stuntman who can’t perform stunts, and a singer he discovered at a theme park. This movie has a laundry list of celebrity cameos to round out the context of ‘90s-era Hollywood, from Vanilla Ice to Arsenio Hall to Pauly Shore.
Like most Netflix comedies, Sandy Wexler has a bloated runtime at over two hours – without the need to get butts in seats, there’s no need for tight editing – but its comedic sensibility is wonderfully offbeat.
The Week Of marked a refreshing change of pace from Sandler’s usual high-concept fare. The movie follows two families as they prepare for a big wedding ceremony and everything goes wrong. It has a surprisingly naturalistic tone, favoring awkward human interaction over slapstick (although there’s still plenty of slapstick).
Sandler plays the frugal father of the bride who insists on paying for the wedding. He was perfectly matched with his co-star, frequent collaborator Chris Rock, as the wealthy father of the groom who wishes he’d just let him cover the costs.
Sandler’s follow-up to The Ridiculous 6, The Do-Over, is an action comedy about a case of mistaken identity. Two friends fake their deaths and assume new identities, only to find that their new identities are in even more trouble than their old ones. This movie reunited Sandler with Happy Madison mainstay David Spade.
Unfortunately, the chemistry between the movie’s stars is let down by a needlessly complicated plot with an abundance of twists revolving around characters who are dead before the movie even begins.
Sandler reunited with Jennifer Aniston for a wacky whodunit aptly titled Murder Mystery. They play a New York cop and his mystery novel-obsessed wife, who go on vacation and end up involved in a murder investigation on a rich guy’s yacht.
The storytelling doesn’t exactly evoke the masterfully crafted works of Agatha Christie, but Sandler shares enough chemistry with Aniston to make up for it. Murder Mystery is set to become Sandler’s first Netflix original to get a sequel. The next movie is currently in the works with Sandler and Aniston reprising their roles.
Noah Baumbach directed one of Sandler’s most nuanced performances in The Meyerowitz Stories, a quintessential tale of dysfunctional family life. Sandler plays the most neglected member of the family, who’s struggling to connect with his own daughter.
Dustin Hoffman plays his dying father, Elizabeth Marvel plays his sister, and Ben Stiller plays his half-brother. The Meyerowitz Stories is a typically bittersweet Baumbach affair exploring people’s difficulty to communicate with one another.
Happy Madison’s latest Netflix original is much more dramatic than its other streaming efforts. There are plenty of laughs in Hustle, but it’s primarily a heartwarming sports drama.
Sandler plays an NBA scout who discovers a Spanish basketball player who’s hugely talented but rough around the edges. He takes the player under his wing in the hopes of training him to become an NBA star. Hustle does little to shake up familiar sports movie clichés, but Sandler’s everyman is endlessly watchable.
NEXT: 5 Family-Friendly Adam Sandler Movies (& 5 Surprisingly Dark Ones)