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The Cobbler Review

I only have 300 words or less to explain The Cobbler, but I doubt I could adequately convey anything about it in less than 30,000 words. How else would one describe one of the most original and bafflingly crazy misfires you’ve ever seen? Like Ishtar, it’s a film that will someday have volumes written about it.

Adam Sandler stars as a frustrated middle aged Jewish man running a shoe repair business that he inherited when his dad (Dustin Hoffman) skipped town. He’s fairly antisocial, not too concerned about a rich developer (Ellen Barkin) gentrifying New York’s Lower East Side, he’s easily bullied, and he has an ailing mother at home to worry about. Then, one day, he finds out that a hand stitching machine in the basement of his shop can turn any pair of shoes into objects he can put on to take on the appearance of the owner.

Sandler’s great, as is the rest of the cast, but once you can figure out where the film is headed, you’ll immediately begin wondering what filmmaker Tom McCarthy (who previously made such great films as The Station Agent and The Visitor) was thinking. There’s a precise moment when the film goes off the rails. Then it goes so far away from those rails you can see the rails from space. It stops being a Jewish mystical fairy tale and becomes an oddly brutish superhero movie in the vein of Kick Ass or Darkman.

It does not work, but it’s ambitious as all hell and uniquely crazy. I don’t like it, but I sure as heck admire anything that turned out this insane.

This review was originally published as part of our TIFF 2014 coverage.


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Comments

  • Dee

    For future reference:
    Actors of fully Jewish background: -Logan Lerman, Natalie Portman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mila Kunis, Bar Refaeli, James Wolk, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Julian Morris, Adam Brody, Esti Ginzburg, Kat Dennings, Gabriel Macht, Erin Heatherton, Odeya Rush, Anton Yelchin, Paul Rudd, Scott Mechlowicz, Lisa Kudrow, Lizzy Caplan, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Gal Gadot, Debra Messing, Robert Kazinsky, Melanie Laurent, Shiri Appleby, Justin Bartha, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Margarita Levieva, Elizabeth Berkley, Halston Sage, Seth Gabel, Skylar Astin, Mia Kirshner, Alden Ehrenreich, Eric Balfour, Jason Isaacs, Jon Bernthal, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy.

    Andrew Garfield is Jewish, too (though I don’t know if both of his parents are).

    Actors with Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers -Jake Gyllenhaal, Dave Franco, James Franco, Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Day-Lewis, Daniel Radcliffe, Alison Brie, Eva Green, Joaquin Phoenix, River Phoenix, Emmy Rossum, Rashida Jones, Jennifer Connelly, Sofia Black D’Elia, Nora Arnezeder, Goldie Hawn, Ginnifer Goodwin, Amanda Peet, Eric Dane, Jeremy Jordan, Joel Kinnaman, Ben Barnes, Patricia Arquette, Kyra Sedgwick, Dave Annable, Ryan Potter.

    Actors with Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers, who themselves were either raised as Jews and/or identify as Jews: -Ezra Miller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Alexa Davalos, Nat Wolff, Nicola Peltz, James Maslow, Josh Bowman, Winona Ryder, Michael Douglas, Ben Foster, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nikki Reed, Zac Efron, Jonathan Keltz, Paul Newman.

    Oh, and Ansel Elgort’s father is Jewish, though I don’t know how Ansel was raised.

    Actors with one Jewish-born parent and one parent who converted to Judaism -Dianna Agron, Sara Paxton (whose father converted, not her mother), Alicia Silverstone, Jamie-Lynn Sigler.