Total Recall: Adam Sandler's Worst to Best

Which movies tickled the critics' medulla oblongata?

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This week, You Don't Mess With the Zohan, the tale of a Mossad agent who goes undercover as a hairdresser, hits theaters. Adam Sandler's latest inspired us here at RT to take a closer look at the career of one of recent cinema's most popular comic actors.

Though he's won plenty of affection from his work on Saturday Night Live and his cheerfully lowbrow films, Sandler has never been a critics' darling. However, to his legion of fans, Sandler's movies are like a warm blanket; playing lovable wiseguys, surrounded by oddball friends (usually Rob Schneider, Steve Buscemi, Allen Covert, and the late, great Chris Farley), the Sandman mixes potty humor and pathos with aplomb. And as his career has evolved, Sandler has won praise for attempting to stretch his on-screen persona into more difficult territory, depicting emotionally troubled, vulnerable characters with strength and depth. Check out our retrospective of Sandler's career, counting down from his worst-reviewed movie to his best.

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18. Bulletproof (1996)
Tomatometer: 8%
Box office: $21.1 million

Bulletproof stars Sandler as Archie, a hood working for a drug kingpin. His best friend Jack (Damon Wayans) is an undercover cop, looking to bust up the whole enterprise. After Jack tries to arrest Archie, he's shot in the head; Archie eventually skips town, but decides to testify against his boss, so Jack agrees to escort him cross country. Together, the two must outwit a group of assassins while working out their hostilities. Like 48 Hours, Bulletproof was designed as a vehicle for a young comedian (in this case, two young comedians) to break into action-buddy-comedy territory.

However, the result was the worst-reviewed film of Sandler's career; critics pegged it as middling and predictable, despite a few funny moments. "A few stray laughs here and there, but both comedians have done a whole lot better," wrote Scott Weinberg of

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17. Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights (2002)
Tomatometer: 13%
Box office: $23.3 million

Why should Christian kids have all the fun? In celebrating his Jewish heritage, Sandler has made contributions to seasonal merriment both sublime ("The Chanukah Song") and forgettable (Eight Crazy Nights). The latter, an animated musical, written, produced, and featuring voice work from the Sandman, tells the tale of Davey, a drunken misanthrope who becomes a youth basketball coach to satisfy his community service requirements. Under the guidance of kindly old Whitey and Eleanore, Davey learns a thing or two about the holiday spirit -- but not before wreaking havoc on his small town.

Indeed, critics found Eight Crazy Nights to be less than heartwarming; David Keyes of called it "a shallow, crude, mean-spirited and painfully unfunny excursion into lunacy."