Rated: PG-13 for some violence, language and brief partial nudity. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: March 13, 2015 Released by: Image Entertainment
Adam Sandler's collaboration with Tom McCarthy is no Win Win proposition on a modest budget coming out the same week as Disney's live-action exquisitely rendered Cinderella.
The first reel or two of The Cobbler looks like sweet, heartwarming quirky entertainment in the ilk of McCarthy's first quality independent feature, The Station Agent.
A sad shoemaker is Sandler's Max with McCarthy as a co-writer letting him morph into another once he's wearing their shoes complements of stumbling upon a mysterious heirloom. Humor abounds initially when Max makes this find having a chameleonic presence even catching a neighbor off guard. The usually sound helmer works hard to ground his fairy tale in emotion when Max takes on the personality of his late father (Dustin Hoffman) to comfort his mother.
But, the storyline then takes on more of Sandler's comfort zone as an odious real-estate financier, a shrill Ellen Barkin (Emmy and Tony Award winner, Ocean's Thirteen), leaves The Cobbler with little sole support (again, no pun intended) before some upbeat familial stuff near the conclusion. The futility from a good-natured salient proposition allow for very little empathy or entrancing atmosphere that goes to show that McCarthy (who's had smaller roles in plenty of superior films, see Michael Clayton, Up, Meet The Parents and even a lesser, if striking The Lovely Bones) needed a pair of magical shoes or slippers to produce the kind of convincing cinema he's known for, like The Visitor.