Adam Sandler

Comedian, actor, writer and producer - as well as former "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ) castmember - Adam Sandler was the man behind a genre of comedy blockbusters so closely associated with his formulaic wackiness that it eventually bore his name: "Adam Sandler movies." At the center of hits like "Billy Madison" (1995) and "The Waterboy" (1998) were Sandler's character creations - hapless, moronic, outsiders entangled in absurdly improbable circumstances. But critics be damned, the adolescent-skewed offerings proved to be box office gold and their creator repeated his success with endless variations on the same formula - including producing similar films starring good friends David Spade and Rob Schneider - before eventually branching out into something more substantial. First parlaying his vulnerable dimwit persona into romantic comedies like "The Wedding Singer" (1998), Sandler began to show subtler, more human shades in other people's works including Paul Thomas Anderson's "Punch-Drunk Love" (2002), for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination, and James L. Brooks' "Spanglish" (2004). With his tried-and-true formula beginning to lose audiences to "smarter" comedies, Sandler teamed with Judd Apatow for "You Don't Mess with the Zohan" (2008) and "Funny People" (2009), which saw Sandler delving deeper into acting than ever before. The comedian continued his softer direction with "Grown Ups" (2010), a reunion picture with many of his "SNL" buddies, and a warmhearted voiceover turn as a doting Dracula in "Hotel Transylvania" (2012) and its 2015 sequel. At the same time, Sandler continued making plenty of broad comedies such as "Jack and Jill" (2011) and the generation gap comedy "That's My Boy" (2012), before an ill-advised reunion with Drew Barrymore in "Blended" (2014), the critically-savaged science fiction comedy "Pixels" (2015) and a controversial western comedy, "The Ridiculous 6" (2015), threatened to undo all the goodwill he had gathered. However, a subdued performance in Noah Baumbach's "The Meyerowitz Stories" (2017) won critical plaudits at the 2017 Cannes Fiulm Festival, showing that Sandler was still capable of surprising critics and audiences alike. Adam Sandler's formula may have altered a bit through the years, but his heart stayed true to his particular brand of sweet-hearted, goofy comedy.