Ah the dream of a lot of us grown up men in our 30s! No not a wife as cute as Kate Beckinsale, although that is a nice dream as well! But a universal remote control that could control your universe as well! That’s exactly what this movie is about as an overworked architect who neglects his family and misses most of his life when he receives a remote-control device that enables him to skip over unpleasant events. Frank Coraci directed this movie written by Mark O’Keefe and Steve Koren and starring Adam Sandler, Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken, sean Astin, David Hasselhoff & Henry Winkler.
So Michael Newman (Sandler) is our overworked architect who readily sacrifices family time to work in order to be able to give the a good life to his wife Donna (Beckinsale) and two kids Sam & Ben. His overbearing boss Mr. Ammer (Hasselhoff) makes him work extra while dangling the possibility of making partner in his firm. One night Michael goes nuts over the number of remote controls in his house and goes to buy a universal remote at a huge store where he meets a mad scientist kinda looking clerk named Morty (Walken) who gives him the remote control but warms him that it can never be returned. To Michael’s initial shock he finds that the remote can control time!
Mike uses it to skip fights with Donna, go forward until he rids himself of a cold, and skip a family dinner to work. Morty tells him that while skipping an event his body is on auto-pilot, only his mind skips time. Mike skips ahead a few months to when he gets promoted to partner with Ammer but finds that he has missed a whole year of his life. He also finds out that he is in marriage counseling and missed the death of his dog, which he is quite sad about. He then sees that the remote is programming itself to his previous commands and finds that the remote fast forwards without him controlling it. During a conversation with Ammer Michael reveals that he wants to be CEO of the company and the remote fast forwards 10 years in the future to 2017 when an older Michael is CEO but he is also obese, lives alone, divorced from Donna and his kids don’t talk to him! He goes to see his old house and fights with Donna on seeing her new boyfriend and ends up knocked out by the new dog.
The remote fast forwards another 6 years and he is in the hospital; Donna reveals he has cancer and also subsequently suffered a heart attack as he ate so prolifically during chemo (as his body was on auto pilot). Michael is no longer obese thanks to liposuction, Donna has re-married Ben’s old swim coach, Bill, and Ben has gone into his father’s line of work. When Mike goes to see Ben, he learns of his father’s death and cries over not being there for his last moments on earth. Michael uses the remote to view the last time they spoke. While on auto-pilot, Michael angrily rejected Ted’s offer for a night out with him and Ben. Morty, who reveals himself to be the angel of death agrees to show Michael a happy time and fast forwards a few more years to Ben’s wedding. There however he suffers a second heart attack when he hears Samantha call Bill “dad” and is rushed to the hospital. Michael’s family arrives and Ben reveals that he has cancelled his honeymoon in order to work on an important deal that will keep his business going. Not wanting Ben to make the same mistakes as he did, Mike rushes after Ben and collapses. He manages to convince Ben that family comes first and tells his family that he loves them. Morty arrives to take Ben away and he closes his eyes. A white light flashes – and Michael wakes up to the present time! He was asleep in the store where he had gone to buy the remote!
Was it all a dream? Believing it to be so and a life lesson, he happily rushes to see his dad & mom and tells them that he loves them. Then he goes to spend time with Donna and the kids to celebrate. At home, he sees a note from Morty – which states that Morty knew Michael would do the right thing this time, and realizing he actually experienced the events, he throws the remote in the trash and goes to restart his new life with his family.
Funny in a lot of ways, the latter half is most sad and it made me sad too. I liked this movie a lot. I thought Sandler did a swell job in his role and preferred this to his usual antics. There is still some typical Sandler grossness like when he pauses his boss and farts in his face. LOL! 8 outta 10!